Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday accused former President Barack Obama of breaking with presidential tradition, slamming the former commander in chief after he delivered scathing criticism of the Trump administration in a speech last week.
“It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents and become so political and roll out the same tired arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years,” Pence said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
In a speech Friday at the University of Illinois, Obama went on the attack for the first time against Trump directly. The speech kicked off Obama’s campaigning on behalf of fellow Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
But Pence said Obama’s criticism would draw a favorable contrast between Democrats and Republicans in the campaign.
“The truth is the American people in 2016 rejected the policy and direction Barack Obama when they elected President Donald Trump,” he said.
Pence was also pressed on Trump’s push for the Justice Department to investigate the identity of an anonymous New York Times op-ed penned by a senior administration official who claimed officials are working to undermine Trump.
Asked by interviewer Chris Wallace what law the author might have broken, Pence responded: “We’ll find out if there was criminal activity involved.”
The vice president added: “I think the president’s concern is that this individual may have responsibilities in the area of national security, and if they’ve now published an anonymous editorial that says that they are misrepresenting themselves, that they are essentially living a lie in this administration and trying to frustrate and subvert the agenda the president was elected to advance, well, that’s an important issue.”
Pence slammed the op-ed and called for the author to step forward and resign.
“It’s un-American,” Pence said. “To have someone who literally celebrates coming in every day to frustrate the agenda that the president and I were elected to advance, it really is an assault on our democracy, and it should be condemned.”
Pence added that he would take a lie detector test “in a heartbeat” to show he wasn’t the author of the op-ed, but he said it is up to Trump to decide whether any administration officials would take a polygraph.