President Obama gave Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a civics lesson during a rally for Hillary Clinton on Friday.
Campaigning for the Democratic nominee in Ohio, the president recalled the latest series of controversial statements Trump has made, including threats to jail his opponent Hillary Clinton and his latest conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by a global elite.
“In a democracy you cannot threaten to jail your opponents, there’s this thing called due process,” Obama said. “In a democracy you have a contest, but if you lose you say congratulations and then you move on because the country and our system of government is bigger than any one individual.”
Obama again placed blame on Republican officials who he said have stood by in silence as Trump has trod over the values the GOP has long upheld. But Trump, Obama said, “didn’t build all of this crazy conspiracy stuff.” Obama said that throughout his administration, many Republicans have stood by and allowed conspiracy theories and harsh rhetoric to circulate among the electorate, which cleared the way for the Trump candidacy.
“A lot of Republican elected officials have just stood by, and they didn’t say anything because it was a way to rile up their base and a way to mount opposition to what we were trying to do,” Obama said. “Some Republicans who knew better stood by silently and even during the course of this campaign didn’t say anything.”
A bevy of Republicans disavowed Trump’s campaign after recordings were released of him boasting about sexually assaulting women. House Speaker Paul Ryan told his colleagues earlier this week that he would no longer defend the Republican nominee and would instead focus on keeping the GOP majority in Congress.
During the president’s two-day tour of the Buckeye State, he repeatedly called Clinton the most qualified person to ever seek the office, and laid out what he believes is a clear case for why she should succeed him. All the while, Obama offered up praise of the First Lady’s powerful denunciation of Trump while taking swipes of his own.
On Friday, Obama suggested that Trump is a whiner who complains rather than buckle down and get to work. He also painted him as a flawed businessman who has repeatedly shown disregard for the working-class voters he’s now courting. Obama even suggested Trump himself has spent his life trying to convince the world that he’s a member of the global elite he now claims is trying to control America. The blue-collar vote will be imperative in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where both candidates are hoping to pull off a win.
“[Trump] spent 70 years on this earth with no regard for working people. And then suddenly he’s going to be the champion of working people?” Obama said. “Come on, man.”