CLAIM: Former President Barack Obama claimed President Donald Trump had “no interest in common ground.”
VERDICT: FALSE. Trump literally won an award for bipartisanship from a non-partisan black organization.
Trump has a combative style, but also has several major bipartisan achievements. Obama had few.
Here is a partial list of Trump’s major bipartisan legislative accomplishments:
- First Step Act — criminal justice reform, passed with support from both parties and the black community
- U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) — replaced NAFTA and passed despite Democrats’ impeachment effort
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — relief bill for COVID-19, passed overwhelmingly
- Great American Outdoors Act — funding maintenance in national parks, passed during bitter 2020 campaign
In 2019, Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award from an African American organization run by 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans for his work on criminal justice reform. (Notably, Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, boycotted the event, which was held at Benedict College in South Carolina, an historically black institution.)
Trump has also appealed to Democrats to negotiate on issues of concern to both parties. In his State of the Union address in 2018, Trump offered a “four-pillar plan” to resolve the thorny issue of immigration, with compromise on both sides.
Trump has also spoken for four years about reaching a major deal with Democrats on infrastructure investment.
In contrast, Obama had few major bipartisan legislative achievements. Even a list of Obama’s minor bipartisan gestures is woefully small.
He signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which bans congressional insider trading — an idea that came from Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizter. Other than that, Obama rarely reached across the aisle.
Obama was known for blowing up bipartisan negotiations, not for finding “common ground.” The Budget Control Act of 2011 was a bipartisan compromise on spending — which Obama spent the next several years trying to undo.
Crucially, Obama also supported the Occupy Wall Street riots, and borrowed that movement’s “99 percent versus one percent” rhetoric in his 2012 re-election campaign. He also backed the violent Black Lives Matter movement.
Obama had many opportunities to find “common ground.” Tragically, for America, he refused. Trump forged bipartisan agreement even in the most divided circumstances — even if he also fought back harder than any Republican before him.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This article has been updated to include the STOCK Act and the Budget Control Act of 2011.