Flashback: Republican Members Called Obama ‘Anti-American,’ ‘Marxist,’ ‘Gangster’

In an interview with Univision last week, President Obama said: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Many conservatives took great issue with Obama’s use of the word “enemies” to describe political opponents. Tonight in Cincinnati, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) will give a major “closing argument” speech in which he will attack Obama for the comment:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as ‘our enemies.’ Think about that. He actually used that word. When Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush used the word ‘enemy,’ they reserved it for global terrorists and foreign dictators — enemies of the United States. Enemies of freedom. Enemies of our country. Today, sadly, we have president who uses the word ‘enemy’ for fellow Americans — fellow citizens. He uses it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government — people speaking out for a smaller, more accountable government that respects freedom and allows small businesses to create jobs. Mr. President, there’s a word for people who have the audacity to speak up in defense of freedom, the Constitution, and the values of limited government that made our country great. We don’t call them ‘enemies.’ We call them ‘patriots.’”

Boehner’s sanctimony is truly stunning, considering that since the start of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and through his time as President of the United States, an office for which Boehner professes much reverence in his speech, Republicans have directly attacked Obama as everything from a “gangster” to Adolf Hitler, and suggested in myriad ways that Obama is an enemy to America, or perhaps not even actually an American.


A limited collection of the worst things Republicans have said about Obama:

— Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) was forced to apologize for “calling President-elect Barack Obama a ‘Marxist’ and comparing him to Adolf Hitler.” [11/12/08]

— Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) also compared Obama not only to Hitler, but also Hugo Chavez. [07/09/09]

— Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) questioned whether President Obama was an American, saying: “Well, his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.” [02/23/09]

— Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) also questioned Obama’s citizenship, saying birthers “have a point” and that “I don’t discourage it.” [07/29/09]

— Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said she was “very concerned that [Obama] may have anti-American views.” [10/17/08]

— Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) called Obama “an enemy of humanity” for his pro-choice views. [09/26/09]

— Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) called Obama “a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda,” and said he was “a dedicated enemy of the Constitution.” [07/22/10]

— Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that the Obama administration was a “gangster government.” [11/12/09]

— Bachmann, too, accuses Obama of heading a “gangster government.” [06/10/09]

— As Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin famously said Obama is “palling around with terrorists.” [10/04/10]

— Palin also said the president was being advised by “thugs” from Chicago. [06/10/10]

Boehner did not repudiate a single one of these comments, but has suddenly found a sense of political decorum. Perhaps the next time an elected Republican accuses Obama of trying to destroy America, Boehner can give another speech.


This afternoon, President Obama said he wishes he used the word opponents, instead of ‘enemies.’ “Now the Republicans are saying that I’m calling them enemies,” Obama said. “What I’m saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.”