U.S. President Barack Obama has accused GOP front-runner Donald Trump of “exploiting” the anxieties of Americans, particularly “blue-collar men. He also addressed his critics and why some call him a disloyal American (video of full interview below).
During Obama’s sit-down with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, released on Dec. 21, the president said that Trump’s rise in the GOP polls can be attributed to the stagnating wages of some American demographics, especially that of blue collar men.
Obama’s take on Trump’s popularity:
I do think that when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses that people have been going through — because of the financial crisis, because of technology, because of globalization, the fact that wages and incomes have been flatlining for some time, and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck — you combine those things, and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear.
Some of it justified, but just misdirected. I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That's what he's exploiting during the course of his campaign.
When asked by Inskeep why some Americans say that he is “changing America for the worse,” Obama said that some of this has to do with demographics.
Obama said that some of his challenges, such as fielding doubts over whether or not he was born in the U.S. or is a closeted Muslim, “are certain circumstances around being the first African-American president that might not have confronted a previous president.”
"Some of them may not like my policies, some of them may just not like how I walk, or my big ears or, you know,” Obama continued. “If you are referring to specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I'm different, I'm Muslim, I'm disloyal to the country… what I'd say there is that that's probably pretty specific to me and who I am and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them."
Despite Obama's criticism of Trump, the real estate mogul still leads in all the recent polls, according to Real Clear Politics' polling data.