Barack Obama just crushed the argument that he’s to blame for the rise of Donald Trump.
“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,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minter Justin Trudeau Thursday.
“I don’t think that I was the one to prompt questions about my birth certificate… I don’t remember saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you ask me about that?'” Obama said “Why don’t you, you know, 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.”
“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,” he continued. “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 we’re experiencing.”
Obama’s comments come as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has repeatedly questioned Obama’s citizenship in the past, is leading in the Republican primary. Many commentators seeking answers for his rise have sought to lay blame on other individuals.
Last week, former Republican candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) published an op-ed titled “President Obama Created Donald Trump.” “I believe that voters tend to act in open-seat presidential elections to correct for the perceived deficiencies of the incumbent,” he wrote. “After seven years of the cool, weak and endlessly nuanced ‘no drama Obama,’ voters are looking for a strong leader who speaks in short, declarative sentences.'” A recent article in the National Journal also said that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) “paved the way for Donald Trump” due to his support for Obamacare.