President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who had been convicted for turning over classified diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, “should never have been released from prison.”
Manning, who Trump called an “ungrateful traitor,” “is now calling President Obama a weak leader,” he said. “Terrible!”
Manning, whose 35-year-sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama shortly before he left office, has not yet been released from prison, contrary to Trump’s tweet. She is set to be freed on May 17 from her cell at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she has spent the past seven years.
On Wednesday, she wrote a column in the Guardian criticizing Obama’s inclination toward compromise, saying it had led to “very few permanent accomplishments.”
“This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us,” she wrote. “What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable.”
"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," she added.
Obama said shortly after his decision to commute Manning’s sentence that “justice has been served” during her time in prison.
“She took responsibility for her crime,” he said in his final news conference, adding that “the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received.”