In a Politico magazine profile published Friday, Omar criticized the way Obama traded his campaign promise of “hope and change” for “bad” policies upon taking office, a common criticism of the former president from progressives.
“We can’t be only upset with Trump. … His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” Omar said, citing Obama’s “droning of countries around the world.”
“That’s not what we should be looking for anymore,” she continued. “We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”
Despite a high number of civilian casualties and criticism that his drone program lacked transparency, Obama had repeatedly defended the strikes.
The freshman Minnesota congresswoman also referred to the Obama administration’s “caging of kids” at the U.S.-Mexico border as an example. Obama famously earned the title of “deporter-in-chief” among immigrant rights advocates, for deporting record numbers of undocumented immigrants during his administration. The numbers dropped in the later years of his presidency.
Under the Obama administration, border officials detained undocumented immigrant children in cages, but the Trump administration has gone much further, facing widespread criticism last year for forcibly separating children from their parents at the border.
A spokeswoman for Obama did not immediately return a request for comment on Omar’s comments.