White House

Trump rips 'ungrateful' Chelsea Manning after Obama criticism

Jackie Ibanez reports from New York

 

President Trump ripped leaker Chelsea Manning as an “ungrateful TRAITOR” on Thursday after the ex-Army intelligence analyst penned a newspaper op-ed critical of former President Obama – the man who cut 28 years off Manning’s prison sentence.

Obama on Jan. 17 commuted Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified documents, the most-high profile in a slew of clemency decisions that came near the end of his White House tenure. Manning, convicted of leaking classified documents, is now set to be released on May 17.

But that didn’t stop Manning from writing a Guardian column on Thursday pining for “a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us.”

“Unfortunately, despite [Obama’s] faith in our system and his positive track record on many issues over the last eight years, there have been very few permanent accomplishments,” wrote Manning, who added that Obama’s detractors have criticized the former president for being “too weak, or too soft or too sympathetic.” 

Manning wrote: "The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise." 

OBAMA COMMUTES CHELSEA MANNING'S SENTENCE

The description led to an early-morning reprimand from Trump, who has long been critical of Manning.

“Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!” Trump tweeted.

Elsewhere in the Guardian column, Manning took aim at hypothetical wrongs that could be committed under Trump’s administration.

“People will probably be targeted because of their religion. Queer and trans people expect to have their rights infringed upon,” Manning wrote. “…Our lives are at risk – especially for immigrants, Muslim people and black people.” 

Manning was known as Bradley Manning when arrested in 2010, but later identified as a transgender woman, using the name Chelsea. 

The news of Manning’s commutation “troubled” then president-elect Trump, said Sean Spicer, now the White House press secretary.

“It’s disappointing,” Spicer told reporters at the time. “And it sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information.”