Chelsea Manning offered a nuanced criticism of the Obama administration in the Guardian Wednesday, writing that the former president too quickly compromised with his opponents.
President Donald Trump responded to Manning on Twitter Thursday morning in more direct terms, calling her an "ungrateful traitor."
"Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!" Trump wrote.
Manning dismissed Trump's criticism hours later on Twitter, writing, "OK? Whatevs" and included a link to the Jay-Z video "Dirt Off Your Shoulder."
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Manning—then known as Bradley—was arrested for leaking hundreds of thousands of military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and sentenced to 35 years in prison. She was not convicted of a more serious charge of aiding the enemy and had her sentence commuted by Obama in January.
In her criticism of the Obama administration, she pointed to his foreign policy and signature health care bill to make her argument.
"Even when they agreed with him on policy, they resisted. For example, when it came to health care reform, Obama opened the debate starting with a compromise. His opponents balked," she wrote. "They refused to move an inch. When he would push for the concessions they asked for, they only dug in deeper in opposition."
She added about foreign policy, "even though he was only carrying out the expanding national security policies of the previous administration, they would ceaselessly criticize him for being too weak, or too soft or too sympathetic."
Manning concluded: "The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle. Instead, what we need is an unapologetic progressive leader."
Despite coming to Obama's defense now, Trump has repeatedly questioned Obama's leadership, even saying Russian president Vladimir Putin was "far more" a leader than the former president.
WikiLeaks made note of the shift on Twitter Thursday morning, writing "Trump denounces Manning for agreeing with him," and included a picture of one of Trump's tweets in which he called Obama "weak."