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Barack Obama: Donald Trump is not my fault

How could it be that a birther no less is the leading contender for the Republican nomination for president of the United States? Columnist Ross Douthat wrote in the New York Times last month: “It isn’t an accident that this is the way the Obama era ends – with a reality TV demagogue leading a populist, nationalist revolution.”

Obama responded at a joint press conference with Justin Trudeau on March 10:

I have been blamed by Republicans for a lot of things, but being blamed for their primaries and who they’re selecting for their party is novel. (Laughter.)

Look, I’ve said — I said it at the State of the Union that one of my regrets is the degree to which polarization and the nasty tone of our politics has accelerated rather than waned over the course of the last seven and a half years. And I do all kinds of soul-searching in terms of are there things I can do better to make sure that we’re unifying the country. But I also have to say, Margaret, that, objectively, it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets — social media, news outlets, talk radio, television stations — have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal; that maximalist, absolutist positions on issues are politically advantageous; that there is a “them” out there and an “us,” and “them” are the folks who are causing whatever problems you’re experiencing.

And the tone of that politics — which I certainly have not contributed to — I don’t think that I was the one to prompt questions about my birth certificate, for example. I don’t remember saying, hey, why don’t you ask me about that. (Laughter.) Or why don’t you question whether I’m American, or whether I’m loyal, or whether I have America’s best interests at heart — those aren’t things that were prompted by any actions of mine.

And so what you’re seeing within the Republican Party is, to some degree, all those efforts over a course of time creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive. He’s just doing more of what has been done for the last seven and a half years.

And, in fact, in terms of his positions on a whole range of issues, they’re not very different from any of the other candidates. It’s not as if there’s a massive difference between Mr. Trump’s position on immigration and Mr. Cruz’s position on immigration. Mr. Trump might just be more provocative in terms of how he says it, but the actual positions aren’t that different. For that matter, they’re not that different from Mr. Rubio’s positions on immigration — despite the fact that both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio, their own families are the products of immigration and the openness of our society.

So I am more than happy to own the responsibility as President, as the only office holder who was elected by all the American people, to continue to make efforts to bridge divides and help us find common ground. As I’ve said before, I think that common ground exists all across the country. You see it every day in how people work together and live together and play together and raise their kids together. But what I’m not going to do is to validate some notion that the Republican crack-up that’s been taking place is a consequence of actions that I’ve taken.

And what’s interesting — I’ll just say one last thing about this — there are thoughtful conservatives who are troubled by this, who are troubled by the direction of their party. I think it is very important for them to reflect on what it is about the politics they’ve engaged in that allows the circus we’ve been seeing to transpire, and to do some introspection.

Because, ultimately, I want an effective Republican Party. I think this country has to have responsible parties that can govern, and that are prepared to lead and govern whether they’re in the minority or in the majority, whether they occupy the White House or they do not. And I’ve often said I want a serious, effective Republican Party — in part to challenge some of the blind spots and dogmas in the Democratic Party. I think that’s useful.

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25 Responses to Barack Obama: Donald Trump is not my fault

  1. avatar
    Dave B. March 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    It was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. That did it. Trump wants to turn the tables so bad, he’s running for president. Give him his own dinner and he’ll go back to his regularly-scheduled programming.
    Thanks, Obama.

  2. avatar
    JPotter March 14, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    Dave B.:
    It was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.That did it.Trump wants to turn the tables so bad, he’s running for president….

    again. He sorta gave it a go in 2012. Of course, just about the entire Red slate was retreads. A quadrennial freak show.

    Donald Trump and White House bids: A long history of not running
    http://onpolitics.usatoday.com/2015/06/15/donald-trump-president-campaign/

    Trump may be the smallest person in America. Which is one heckuva achievement. He was fine with being Roasted, but that’s a give-and-take form. Having no chance to respond at the 2011 Dinner will linger for the rest of his life.

  3. avatar
    Crustacean March 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    “I think it is very important for them to reflect on what it is about the politics they’ve engaged in that allows the circus we’ve been seeing to transpire, and to do some introspection.” ~President Obama

    Circus? What circus?

    “I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words. I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid. Right?” ~Donald Trump

    Oh, THAT circus…

  4. avatar
    Hermitian March 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    Obama totally doesn’t have a clue about international protocol.

    Just ask Queen Elizabeth. I’m sure she’s staying awake tonight to watch one more of those Obama speech videos. Probably while she hums “God save the Queen” and chuckles to herself.

    I’m sure the newly elected Prime Minister of a friendly sovereign nation had nothing better to do with his time than to stand idly by while the so-called “leader of the free world” whined “one more time” about his unfair treatment. He will never get it. So why bother?

  5. avatar
    Scientist March 15, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Hermitian: I’m sure the newly elected Prime Minister of a friendly sovereign nation had nothing better to do with his time than to stand idly by while the so-called “leader of the free world” whined “one more time” about his unfair treatment.

    Trudeau and Obama are best buds. That you don’t realize that shows your complete lack of anything resembling a brain (not that your previous posts didn’t make that crystal clear).

  6. avatar
    Thrifty March 15, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    I have been reading the conservative Republican blogging site redstate.com recently. I usually don’t get into political blogs of any ideology, but I’m finding this fascinating because despite being staunch conservative Republicans, they really hate Donald Trump. They hate him as much as, or perhaps more than, Hillary Clinton. Hillary I guess, is at least the outside enemy, but I think they see Trump as the enemy within, like a cancer tearing apart the Republican party.

  7. avatar
    Scientist March 15, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    Speaking of presidential qualifications, it has now been reported that Trump likes his steaks very well done. No natural born American wants steaks very well done, so it’s obvious he is ineligible.

  8. avatar
    JPotter March 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Thrifty:
    I have been reading the conservative Republican blogging site redstate.com recently.I usually don’t get into political blogs of any ideology, but I’m finding this fascinating because despite being staunch conservative Republicans, they really hate Donald Trump.They hate him as much as, or perhaps more than, Hillary Clinton.Hillary I guess, is at least the outside enemy, but I think they see Trump as the enemy within, like a cancer tearing apart the Republican party.

    Damn that man in the mirror. Uncanny Valley strikes again!

    Scientist:
    Speaking of presidential qualifications, it has now been reported that Trump likes his steaks very well done.No natural born American wants steaks very well done, so it’s obvious he is ineligible.

    Just wait until they realize he eats pizza with a fork.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=trump+pizza+fork

    An oldie but a goodie LOL

  9. avatar
    Hermitian March 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Scientist: Speaking of presidential qualifications, it has now been reported that Trump likes his steaks very well done. No natural born American wants steaks very well done,

    I like steaks well done, also medium well done, medium, medium rare and rare. Meat eaters tend not to be picky. My Uncle always told the waiter — “give me a hot knife and run the cow through here”.

    Trump has a Chef and a Butler. In the past he had four Butlers but, like on Downton Abby, times have changed.

  10. avatar
    Keith March 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    Northland10: Seriously?You don’t get out much, do you.

    He just takes his Big Mac however it comes.

  11. avatar
    Scientist March 15, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Hermitian: Obviously, Trudeau’s Mom never taught him to choose his friends carefully.

    I met Trudeau’s father a couple of times. He was a giant, not in height, but in intellectual stature. Junior is off to great start and I know Dad would be proud of him. Mom is too.

    A clown like you isn’t fit to clean the toilets of any member of the Trudeau family. That’s a fact, Jack.

  12. avatar
    zeropopular March 16, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    well … my opinion is that Americas low and middle ranged income citizens don’t need much more then something … anything… different… then whats been put forth over the last 50 years since around Truman … lies… bullying… secret societies doing secret operations funding their heritages and printing cash over n over thinking social media would never happen… sadly… Trump… has the same views as Cruz and Rubio and Kasich on immigration and a majority of issues that are mainstream important to the public… He just delivers himself with a punch you out style people are starting to believe might be the change in power to turn around the light that’s dwindling out here in America.. Bush’s and Clinton’s and Yale Skull and Bones… this plan is not working there is no effin new world order… unless it’s plan is to Make China the boss..

  13. avatar
    Steve March 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    This is satire, but it just might work

    http://www.politicalgarbagechute.com/barack-obama-endorses-donald-trump-for-president/

  14. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) March 18, 2016 at 5:00 am #

    Steve: This is satire, but it just might work

    I had another idea (about the SCOTUS nomination).
    If the Senate does not vote on Obama’s nomination(s), they are not rejected.
    If they are not rejected, the Senate could confirm any of them if the Dems take it back in November, even if a Republican should become President (as the Constitution neither provides an expiry date to nominations nor for a President withdrawing a nomination by another President).
    In other words, Obama could play a clever game of chess:

    1. Nominate a couple other, way more leftist candidates.
    2. Nominate himself.
    3. Tell the GOP Senate that if Dems take back control of the Senate, they will immediately confirm one of the “radical” candidates (or him) and that Republicans have no option to stop that even if they win the Presidency.
    4. Ask them if it isn’t a better idea to just confirm his first nominee.

    😉

  15. avatar
    J.D. Reed March 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    The Magic M (not logged in): I had another idea (about the SCOTUS nomination).
    If the Senate does not vote on Obama’s nomination(s), they are not rejected.
    If they are not rejected, the Senate could confirm any of them if the Dems take it back in November, even if a Republican should become President (as the Constitution neither provides an expiry date to nominations nor for a President withdrawing a nomination by another President).
    In other words, Obama could play a clever game of chess:

    1. Nominate a couple other, way more leftist candidates.
    2. Nominate himself.
    3. Tell the GOP Senate that if Dems take back control of the Senate, they will immediately confirm one of the “radical” candidates (or him) and that Republicans have no option to stop that even if they win the Presidency.
    4. Ask them if it isn’t a better idea to just confirm his first nominee.

  16. avatar
    J.D. Reed March 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    I believe the new Senate would have only 17 days to act — the gap between the convening of the new Senate on Jan. 3 and the inauguration of the new president on Jan. 20. Because (I believe) the incoming president would possess the same authority to withdraw any nomination that was pending, whether his/her own, or a predessessor’s. And a new Republican at president would most certainly do so. The Democratic majority would also have to exercise the “nuclear option” by changing the rules to bar a filibuster on a Supreme Court nomination.
    Because it’s inconceivable that Democrats would gain 14 seats, to reach a filibuster-proof majority, at the same time Republicans were winning the national vote for president.
    It’s conceivable, if unlikely, that they could gain five seats to form a bare majority.

  17. avatar
    Joey March 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    I wonder if the Obama Administration and the Clinton campaign collaborated on the selection of the current nominee so that his name stays in place if Clinton is elected.
    Bill Clinton appointed him to the Court of Appeals.

  18. avatar
    bob March 18, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    Joey:
    I wonder if the Obama Administration and the Clinton campaign collaborated on the selection of the current nominee so that his name stays in place if Clinton is elected.
    Bill Clinton appointed him to the Court of Appeals.

    Doubtful; Garland has been on Obama’s short list since Stevens retired.

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    So today Trump threatened riots if he is not the Republican nominee.

  20. avatar
    Keith March 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    Joey: I wonder if the Obama Administration and the Clinton campaign collaborated on the selection of the current nominee so that his name stays in place if Clinton is elected.
    Bill Clinton appointed him to the Court of Appeals.

    There is a strong tradition in the United States, despite the GOP’s current reluctance to do their job, that there is only one President at a time.

    So I doubt that the President consulted either Clinton or Sanders in the choice.

    That said, I’m sure that he kept both candidates ‘in the loop’ to ensure they were prepared to deal with it, and even to advance the argument in their own campaigns.

  21. avatar
    Keith March 18, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    So today Trump threatened riots if he is not the Republican nominee.

    He’s making progress though. He didn’t suggest that they would be Obama’s fault (yet).

  22. avatar
    Joey March 19, 2016 at 2:25 am #

    Here’s an excerpt from an article by Conservative columnist David Brooks on Donald Trump:
    “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.
    Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy.

    This week, the Politico reporters Daniel Lippman, Darren Samuelsohn and Isaac Arnsdorf fact-checked 4.6 hours of Trump speeches and press conferences. They found more than five dozen untrue statements, or one every five minutes.

    “His remarks represent an extraordinary mix of inaccurate claims about domestic and foreign policy and personal and professional boasts that rarely measure up when checked against primary sources,” they wrote.

    He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12. He surrounds himself with sycophants. “You can always tell when the king is here,” Trump’s butler told Jason Horowitz in a recent Times profile. He brags incessantly about his alleged prowess, like how far he can hit a golf ball. “Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong?” he asks.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/opinion/no-not-trump-not-ever.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

  23. avatar
    Scientist March 19, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    Joey: Here’s an excerpt from an article by Conservative columnist David Brooks on Donald Trump:

    Of course, Trump supporters will regard both Brooks’ opposition and the points he makes as even more reason to support Trump.

  24. avatar
    Keith March 22, 2016 at 1:13 am #

    Deja Vu all over again?
    Confessions Of A Republican (short version)

    Yes, there is a 7 minute version. And there is a version with a black spokesperson using the exact same script.