In an interview with NPR on Dec. 17, the President accused Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump of pulling down the political discourse by stoking the hate and fear of the working classes.
The president conceded however, that they have every right to be frustrated with modern America.
“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,” President Obama said. “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.”
The President agreed that some policy changes that his administration adopted have brought on tough transitions to parts of the economy, the energy sector in particular.
However, Obama noted that it is not necessarily his policies that get attacked by rather the other side takes aim at him personally, saying things that are not even true to gain traction with their base.
“Specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I’m different, I’m Muslim, I’m disloyal to the country, etc., which unfortunately is pretty far out there and gets some traction in certain pockets of the Republican Party, and that have been articulated by some of their elected officials, 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,” he said.
The President indicated the one of the biggest failures of his administration was a lack of communication, which allowed opponents, like Donald Trump, to paint an inaccurate picture of his accomplishments in areas like the fight against ISIS.
“I think that there is a legitimate criticism of what I’ve been doing and our administration has been doing in the sense that we haven’t, you know, on a regular basis I think described all the work that we’ve been doing for more than a year now to defeat ISIL,” Obama said. “So part of our goal here is to make sure that people are informed about all the actions that we’re taking.”
Checkout the NPR interview below.
[The Associated Press] [NPR] [Photo courtesy of NPR]