Barack Obama addressed the schism within the Republican Party over Donald Trump’s presumptive nomination as the GOP presidential standard-bearer during a brief press conference on Friday, issuing a challenge to conservative budget hawks and Republican women to think carefully before casting a ballot for the real estate mogul in the fall.
“I think, not just Republican officials, but more importantly Republican voters are going to have to make a decision as to whether this is the guy who speaks for them and represents their values,” the president said. “Republican women—voters—are going to have to decide ‘is that the guy I feel comfortable in representing me and what I care about.’ ”
On Wednesday evening, soon after the last of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination dropped out of the race, his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton released a pair of ads attacking Trump on a number of fronts, including his past comments about women and abortion. The ads show Trump saying that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, include his comments about Megyn Kelly and bleeding, and replays his since retracted statement that women should be punished for abortion.
An ABC News Washington Post poll last month had Trump’s unfavorable rating among women at 75 percent. His favorability among Republican women was also underwater, with 51 percent holding an unfavorable view and 45 percent holding a favorable one.
Obama also called on traditional fiscal conservatives to look hard at Trump’s policies before voting Republican in November.
“I think folks who historically have been concerned about making sure that budget adds up and that we are responsible stewards of government finances have to ask, ‘Does Mr. Trump’s budget work?’ ” he said.
When asked about Trump at the start of the press conference, Obama said that if the media reported on the practicality, or impracticality, of his various positions, then “I am confident our democracy will work.”
“I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job, this is not entertainment,” he intoned in discussing the former reality TV star’s rise to the helm of one of two major American political parties. “This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States, and what that means is that every candidate and every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny.”
source: Slate By Jeremy Stahl, May 6, 2016