Donald Trump has never been one to turn the other cheek.
Shortly after the Washington Post and others reported that in her upcoming memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama wrote that she would “never forgive” Trump for championing the false birther movement that sought to discredit her husband, the president responded with his own grievance.
“She got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always expect a little controversy,” he told reporters on Friday, according to a White House pool report. “I can deal with the controversy back.”
“I’ll never forgive [Barack Obama] for what he did to our United States by not funding it properly. It was depleted. It was old and tired, and I came in and I had to fix it, and I’m in the process of spending tremendous amounts of money, so I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our military,” he remarked.
The former first lady’s criticisms of Trump, 72, also had to do with her family’s safety, as she wrote in her memoir that the conspiracy theory put her daughters, Sasha and Malia, in danger.
“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?” Mrs. Obama, 54, wrote, according to the Post. “Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has taken this line against his predecessor, arguing in 2016 that Obama had allowed the military to become “depleted.”
Conservative news outlets have also made similar claims against Obama in the past, with the National Review writing in 2017 that Obama had “done more damage to American military power than his successor can repair.”
During his eight years in office, Obama did both reduce military spending and reduce the number of U.S. troops overseas, NPR reported. However, the outlet also pointed out that the country was no longer “at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” necessitating lower amounts of troops and funding than in years past.
In 2016, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Paul Selva remarked that while numbers might be lower, the U.S. military was still at the top of its game.
“At no time in my career have I been more confident than this instant in saying we have the most powerful military on the face of the planet,” he remarked during a debate, according to the Washington Post.
Citing Obama’s military accomplishments, the Military Times pointed out last year that although according to a recent poll, “more than half of [the] troops…said they had an unfavorable opinion of Obama,” the former president had also overseen the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
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The Trumps and the Obamas have made no secret of their distaste for each other over the years.
In fact, the former president and former first lady’s first project for Netflix will be an adaption of a scathing book about President Trump‘s administration, The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, according to an episode of Katie Couric’s podcast.
However, a spokesperson for the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, said that The Fifth Risk Netflix project would center around the “civic lessons” it presents and not attack Trump, according to The New York Times.