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Trump defends Obama from Chelsea Manning's criticism

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk as they pause on the steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump defended former President Barack Obama after Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning criticized Obama's lack of leadership in a column Manning penned for The Guardian.

Trump logged on to Twitter to share his thoughts following the publication of Manning's column Thursday morning. While defending Obama from Manning's criticisms, Trump included a dig at Obama for commuting Manning's sentence, a controversial decision he made just days before leaving office.

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

Manning wrote that Obama left behind "hints of a progressive legacy" but said that ultimately progressives needed a stronger leader able to do more than what Obama was able to accomplish:

This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us. What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable.

Manning was originally sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in military prison for stealing classified and sensitive government documents and handing them over to the WikiLeaks organization for publishing and distribution.

Obama defended his decision to commute all but four months of Manning's remaining time in prison, saying the sentence was too long when compared to the sentences previous leakers had received. His critics slammed him for catering to the LGBT community. Manning, who was born a man with the given name Bradley, announced a day after his sentencing that he wanted to live as a female and go by the name Chelsea. He began transitioning to a transgender woman while serving time at the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.

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