President Donald Trump on Thursday echoed a Fox News anchor who called Chelsea Manning a “traitor” after the jailed former Army intelligence officer wrote that President Obama had been too quick to compromise with Republicans.
In discussing Manning’s column in The Guardian, Fox News host Abby Huntsman said “the former army private is slamming Obama as a weak leader with few permanent accomplishments.” An on-screen chyron read: “UNGRATEFUL TRAITOR: Chelsea Manning Slams Fmr Pres Obama”
Minutes later, Trump, an avid consumer of the network, echoed that language on his Twitter account:
Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out the timeline:
14 minutes apart: Fox says “ungrateful traitor,” Trump says “ungrateful traitor,” Fox says “weak leader,” Trump says “weak leader.” pic.twitter.com/f7urTOUG1L
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 26, 2017
Manning is a former army intelligence officer who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for stealing and leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. Former President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in his last week in office.
In her column Thursday, Manning never used the word “weak,” although she concluded that Obama’s presidency was hobbled by his attempts to compromise with the GOP.
“The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise,” she wrote. “They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader.”
Trump has shown a pattern of writing tweets based on Fox News commentary. On Tuesday, he threatened that he would “send in the Feds” to Chicago if it did not address its crime rate. He cited homicide numbers that did not match statistics kept by the Chicago police, but that did appear to match the statistics offered on a segment on Bill O’Reilly’s show.