President Trump has been dismissing the protests against his presidency and demonstrations at congressional town hall meetings across the country as concocted by his political enemies. But now he has an alleged culprit: Barack Obama.
In an interview Monday with Fox News Channel, Trump said that he believes his predecessor is helping to organize the protests -- even though there is no evidence that Obama has been personally involved in mobilizing opposition to Trump.
"I think that President Obama is behind it because his people certainly are behind it," Trump said. "In terms of him being behind things, that's politics. It will probably continue."
Trump made his comments during an interview at the White House with "Fox & Friends" anchors Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt. Most of the interview will air Tuesday morning, in advance of Trump's formal address to a joint session of Congress, but Fox released an excerpt Monday of his remarks about Obama.
Trump says Obama is "behind" the protests at GOP town halls and leaks coming from the White House pic.twitter.com/HAPhHIEtzU
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) February 28, 2017
In the interview, one of the Fox trio told Trump that Obama's political group — presumably Organizing for Action, the successor group to Obama's campaigns — was helping to organize activists to demonstrate, and asked the president whether he suspected Obama himself was behind the efforts.
“I think he is behind it," Trump said. "I also think it’s politics. That’s the way it is.”
A spokesman for Obama did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Trump has lambasted the town-hall demonstrators on social media, tweeting last week that they were "so-called angry crowds" and that the demonstrations were "planned out by liberal activists."
The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2017
In the interview, Trump offered high marks for his accomplishments in the White House, but he gave himself a “C” for messaging, conceding that he has not been able to properly explain what he's done.
" In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus,” Trump said. “In terms of achievement, I think I'd give myself an A. Because I think I've done great things, but I don't think I have — I and my people, I don't think we've explained it well enough to the American public.”
Abby Phillip contributed to this report.