President Obama hit Republicans right between the eyes by explaining how birtherism and the GOP’s politics of hate created Donald Trump.
The President said:
I’ve actually heard this argument a number of times. 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.
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. 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.
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.
President Obama pinned the rise of Donald Trump squarely on the Republican Party. Republicans decided that they were going to embrace birtherism, obstruction and hate as a political strategy. The soil that grew Donald Trump was fertilized by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and every single elected Republican who followed the lead of conservative media by embracing Obama hate.
The bill has come due for seven years of Republican racially divisive politics. Donald Trump is doing nothing more than running on all of the same positions that Republican politicians used to win House and Senate elections in 2010 and 2014. Donald Trump isn’t hijacking the Republican Party. He is a byproduct of the Republican Party.
Obama didn’t create Trump. The Republican reaction to the success of Obama’s presidency created Trump. Republicans blame Obama for everything, but they only have themselves to blame for the rise of Donald Trump.