With Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the sidelines, President Barack Obama became Trump-basher-in-chief Monday, attacking Republican nominee Donald Trump while praising Clinton.
“We always like the new, shiny thing. I benefited from that when I was a candidate. And we take for granted sometimes what’s steady and true. And Hillary Clinton is steady, and she is true,” said Obama.
Clinton, who had to leave a 9/11 memorial event in New York early Sunday and appeared unable to walk on her own, has been taking a break from the campaign trail. Her doctor said she was diagnosed with pneumonia Friday.
Obama attacked the concept of Trump as a defender of those who have seen jobs and hope pass them by.
“I keep on reading this analysis that Trump’s got support from, like, working folks,” Obama said. “Really? This is the guy you want to be championing working people? This guy who spent 70 years on this earth showing no concern for working people.”
In an analysis for The New Yorker, George Packer said that it is not who Trump is but what he says that has catalyzed voters.
“Trump also grasped what Republican élites are still struggling to fathom: the ideology that has gripped their Party since the late nineteen-seventies — anti-government, pro-business, nominally pious — has little appeal for millions of ordinary Republicans,” Packer wrote.
“The base of the Party, the middle-aged white working class, has suffered at least as much as any demographic group because of globalization, low-wage immigrant labor, and free trade. Trump sensed the rage that flared from this pain and made it the fuel of his campaign,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, Obama focused on Trump’s wealth and not his message.
“This guy’s suddenly going to be your champion? I mean, he spent most of life trying to stay as far away from working people as he could, and now this guy’s going to be the champion of working people. Huh?” Obama said.
“I mean, he wasn’t going to let you on his golf course. He wasn’t going to let you buy in his condo. And now suddenly this guy’s going to be your champion?”
Trump has never apologized for his riches but has said he will use the energy he spent amassing his fortune in a new way.
“My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy,” Trump said in January. “I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.”
After claiming on Tuesday that the media had been “unfair” to Clinton, Obama tried to contrast her experience with Trump’s.
“Anybody can pop off. Anybody can fire off a tweet. Everybody’s a critic. But that doesn’t mean you know what it’s like to manage a global crisis. You don’t know what it’s like to send a group of young people to war knowing some won’t come back. But the closest you can come to understanding what it’s like is to be where Hillary’s been, to have been part of those decisions,” Obama said.
Clinton was secretary of state in the first term of Obama’s administration, and was in office during the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died in the assault.
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