Trump White House Reached Out to Former Obama and Clinton Staff for Policy Support

President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked his Oval Office predecessor and defeated 2016 opponent but White House emails have revealed that his administration has been looking for support from former staff members for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

A recent blunder by White House communications aide Kelly Sadler showed that the Trump administration has been emailing prominent members from former administrations in the hopes that they would amplify some of the president's foreign policy stances, including his abandoning of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this month.

The May 22 email blast, which Sadler forgot to put on blind copy and was obtained by Politico, was sent to political influencers who were selected by the State Department and the National Security Council. The email's recipients included Frank Januzzi, a former adviser to Joe Biden and John Kerry, Dan Fried, Obama's former sanctions coordinator, and Megan O'Sullivan, the deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan during the George W. Bush administration.

The list also included outspoken Trump critics like Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear arms expert, who tweeted in early May that "Donald Trump is pissing on the Iran nuclear deal for the same reason he (reportedly) watched two hookers piss on a bed in a Moscow hotel room: Because Barack Obama makes him feel small and pathetic."

Email recipients told Politico that Sadler explicitly encouraged them to "tweet and write op-eds" on the information and to reach out to her directly if they had any questions. Along with the White House statements, Sadler also provided links to several news articles from conservative media outlets like Fox News and tweets from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

An unnamed White House official responded to the news of the email blast by claiming that the communication serves a purely educational purpose to ensure that these influencers are spreading accurate information. While many administrations have sought expert counsel in the past, former Obama adviser and email recipient Evan Medeiros speculated that the thinly-reported information was presented in an attempt to gain positive media attention and "fan tweets."

Trump has blasted former administrations for their tackling of pressing foreign policy matters, particularly Obama's handling of the Middle East, and last December said during a speech to members of his cabinet that "for many years, our citizens watched as Washington politicians presided over one disappointment after another; too many of our leaders—so many—who forgot whose voices they were to respect, and whose interest they were supposed to defend."

Trump delivers remarks on his intentions regarding the Iran nuclear deal at the White House. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters