A Republican congressman on Friday backed off his claim that former President Barack Obama stayed in Washington solely to run a “shadow government” to undermine the GOP agenda.
The office of Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly said the congressman “does not believe that President Obama is personally operating a shadow government.”
Kelly made the initial accusation at a Republican dinner Saturday north of Pittsburgh. It was captured in a video posted to YouTube.
The Obamas have said they would remain in the nation’s capital until their youngest daughter, Sasha, completes high school.
In the video, Kelly is heard telling his audience that Obama remained in Washington for “one purpose only … to run the shadow government that is going to totally upset the new agenda.”
Kelly’s office initially released a statement saying that the congressman was “sharing the frustration of everyone in the room over how they believe certain Obama administration holdovers” are trying to upset President Donald Trump’s agenda.
As Kelly distanced himself further from the remarks, his office added that the congressman believes “it would be helpful to the new administration if the former president would personally call for an end to all leaks and obstruction by personnel from his administration who currently serve in the Executive Branch under President Trump.”
Obama had no comment, a spokesman said.
Kelly also said Friday he “fully supports the former president’s decision to stay in Washington while his daughter completes school.”