Trump makes unsupported claim that Obama was 'behind' town hall protests

The president offered no evidence to back his claim.

ByABC News
February 27, 2017, 11:42 PM

— -- President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of being "behind" the protests that Republican members of Congress have encountered at town hall meetings across the country.

The allegation came during Trump's interview on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," clips of which were released Monday. Interviewer Brian Kilmeade first states that Obama's "organization seems to be doing a lot of the organizing [of] some of the protests that a lot of these Republicans are seeing around the country and against you."

Trump is then asked, "Do you believe President Obama is behind it, and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid president's code?"

"No, I think he is behind it," said Trump. "I also think it's politics. That's the way it is."

The organization that Kilmeade referred to, Organizing for Action, describes itself on its website as "a nonpartisan issue advocacy organization committed to growing the grass-roots movement by training, educating and activating civically engaged community members across the country."

The group was founded after Obama's 2012 re-election and occupies the digital spaces once owned by the campaign. Its chairman is Jim Messina, who was Obama's deputy chief of staff from 2009 to 2011.

The organization advocates for positions held by the 44th president but, as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, may not directly support political candidates.

"I think that President Obama is probably behind it, because his people are certainly behind it," Trump added. "In terms of him being behind things, that's politics, and it will probably continue.

Organizing for Action's website links to the Town Hall Project, a separate, open-source group that compiles a list of events featuring lawmakers and encourages citizens to attend. The Town Hall Project's list includes events with both Republican and Democratic legislators.

There is no evidence that the project has any direct relationship with Obama.

Presidents traditionally abstain from direct comment on the actions of their successors. After the 2016 election, Obama repeatedly said he wished to aid in a smooth transition to the Trump administration.

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