President Barack Obama declared at a speech Tuesday at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL that presidents shouldn't retaliate against their critics.
"We're a nation that believes that freedom can never be taken for granted," Obama said. "That each of us has a responsibility to sustain the universal right to speak your mind and protest against authority, to live in a society that’s open and free, that can criticize a president without retribution."
And yet, Obama has retaliated against his critics numerous times. Here are five times where he has done so
1. Obama has routinely criticized Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. For example, Obama blamed Limbaugh and Fox News for the rise in partisan politics.
"If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it," Obama said in an interview with The New Republic.
Back in September, Obama lamented in a fundraiser that the race was close because "if all you're doing is watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh...a lot of misinformation on a regular basis, then it's very hard for you to think that you're going to vote for somebody who you've been told is taking the country in the wrong direction."
Obama also recently blamed Donald Trump's election win on the notion that Fox News is playing "in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country" in an interview with Rolling Stone.
At some point, people begin tuning out a broken record.
2. Obama's IRS targeted conservative organizations. As the Daily Wire has previously explained:
In 2013, Lois Lerner, who directed the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations Unit, admitted that Tea Party organizations were targeted under the agency, but blamed it on lower-level employees. Such organizations were heavily scrutinized with invasive questions. Since then, Lerner and IRS commissioner John Koskinen have denied any wrongdoing and have stonewalled congressional efforts to investigate the matter, citing computer crashes for being unable to turn over related emails.
Meanwhile, a federal court concluded in August that conservative groups might still be facing targeted scrutiny from the IRS. It has also been reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) knew about the IRS's targeting of conservative groups as early as 2011.
Obama has insisted that he didn't know that the IRS was engaging in this sort of behavior, but as his nemesis Limbaugh has pointed out, members of the Obama administration share Obama's far-left ideology and priorities, so they know what he wants done. Also, as president, Obama is responsible for what goes on in his administration. The fact that there has been zero accountability or changes made to the IRS makes Obama complicit by default.
And the IRS didn't just target conservative organizations...
3. Individuals who have criticized Obama have faced IRS audits. One such individual is Dr. Ben Carson, who stated in a CNN Republican primary debate that he was audited for the first time after he criticized Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.
"I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast," Carson said, per the Daily Wire. "And then all of the sudden they came in and said, 'We just want to look at your real estate dealings.' And then they didn’t find anything. And then they took a look at the whole year. And they didn’t find anything. And then they looked at the next year and they didn’t find anything. And they won't find anything…"
In 2013, it was reported that GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson came under IRS scrutiny the year prior, suggesting that he too was targeted by the IRS.
4. Dinesh D'Souza was prosecuted for making a film critical of Obama. D'Souza's blockbuster film 2016: Obama's America clearly irked the Obama administration, as they called it "an insidious attempt to dishonestly smear the president." Two years later, federal prosecutors secured a sentence of eight months in a confinement center and five years of probation for D'Souza reimbursing "straw donors for another $20,000 secretly coming from him" to help his friend run for the Senate, which is normally a crime that results in "a wrist slap such as a paltry fine," according to former Maricopa County Elections Department attorney Rachel Alexander.
D'Souza isn't the only one who has been prosecuted under the Obama administration for being critical of the president...
5. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was prosecuted by the Obama administration after he criticized the president's foreign policy. Menendez was openly critical of the administration's policies towards Cuba and Iran in 2015. Soon after, the Department of Justice indicted him for "corruption and bribery," prompting Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz to write:
“Is the prosecution part of a growing and dangerous trend toward criminalizing policy differences?” Dershowitz wondered in a blog post Friday. “Senator Menendez has challenged the Administration’s policy toward Cuba, expressed concerns over a nuclear deal being brokered with Iran, questioned why an agency would condone throwing good medicine in the garbage, and asked whether a foreign government or the private sector is better at port security. Senators should not have to fear that the Executive Branch will unleash prosecutors to go after politicians who are critical of the administration.”
Menendez has repeatedly tried to get federal courts to dismiss the charges, to no avail. Regardless if he's guilty or not, the timing of Menendez's indictment reeked of retaliation