President Barack Obama today gave a mocking rebuke of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for his incendiary language on the campaign trail.
At a Democratic party fundraising event in Dallas, Texas, Obama offered a blunt condemnation of the “divisiveness” fomented by Trump on the campaign trail, including his motto “Make America Great Again.”
“We are great right now,” Obama retorted, in remarks that came one day after skirmishes broke out at a scuttled Trump rally in Chicago.
“What the folks who are running for office should be focused on is how we can make it even better—not insults and schoolyard taunts and manufacturing facts, not divisiveness along the lines of race and faith. Certainly not violence against other Americans,” Obama said.
A Trump campaign event was canceled in Chicago yesterday when throngs of protesters—many of them blacks and Latinos angered by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric—massed outside and inside the venue, mingling and in some cases brawling with the candidate’s supporters.
Critics warned that Trump’s inflammatory language set the tone for the violence, and urged him to tone down the campaign rhetoric.
As Trump has edged further ahead of the once-crowded Republican field, Obama has sharpened his criticisms of him.
In Dallas, he also took a swipe at the mogul’s antics in showcasing his wine label at a recent press conference.
“Has anybody bought that wine?” Obama joked.
“I want to know what that wine tastes like. I mean, come on, you know that’s like some USD 5 wine. They slap a label on it, they charge you USD 50, saying this is the greatest wine ever. Come on!”
Obama’s ever-more direct criticism of Trump reflects a belief that the bellicose businessman may be the main thing standing between Democrats and a third consecutive White House term.
Obama is expected to campaign vociferously for the eventual Democratic nominee, wielding his status as one of the country’s most popular politicians to fire up the party faithful and make the case to young, black and Latino voters.
According to a recent Gallup poll, he has a 50 per cent approval rating, as high as it has been in three years and above average for a president in the last year of a two-term administration.
A Republican victory would throw much of Obama’s legacy into doubt—from landmark health care reforms to the detente with Cuba.