President Barack Obama will not be blamed for the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican Party's front-runner for the presidential nomination.
“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 during a March 10 White House press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Obama said that one of his regrets during his time in office as president is the “degree of which polarization and the nasty tone of our politics has accelerated rather than waned,” before giving examples of how the Republican Party has found itself in its current predicament.
“Objectively, it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets, social media, news outlets, talk radio, TV stations, have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed,” Obama said. “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.”
Due to the tone of that politics, “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 continued.
Obama went on to say that he is responsible for continuing efforts to “bridge divides” and help find common ground, but he will not be held responsible for actions within the Republican Party.
“What I’m not going to do is validate some notion that the Republican crack-up that’s been taking place is a consequence of actions that I’ve taken,” Obama said.
He added that the Republican Party needs to “reflect on what it is about the politics they have engaged in that allows the circus we’ve been seeing to transpire.”
Obama's disdain for Trump is not shocking, considering how the GOP presidential candidate has been vocal about his dislike for the president while on the campaign trail.
Obama is “probably the worst president in the history of our country. He’s a very divisive person … and he should have devoted more time to working on a good nuclear deal with Iran instead of what he’s doing because he has just been a disaster for our country,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in 2015.