Obama Says GOP Is to Blame for the Rise of Donald Trump

PHOTO: President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stand for the playing of national anthems during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 10, 2016.PlayAndrew Harnik/AP Photo
WATCH Obama Says GOP Is to Blame for the Rise of Donald Trump

President Obama is pushing back against attacks that he is the one responsible for the rise of Donald Trump and the turmoil in the Republican Party.

In a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Rose Garden at the White House this morning, Obama urged Republicans to do some “soul searching” before blaming him.

In particular, Obama argued that the GOP has cultivated “a notion that everything I do is to be opposed, that cooperation, compromise somehow is a betrayal."

“What you're seeing within the Republican Party is, to some degree, all those efforts creating an environment where someone like a Donald Trump can thrive," Obama said.

The president also assured Trudeau that his country was safe from a surge of disillusioned or frightened Americans following the outcome of the 2016 election.

"In 2012, when there was a possibility that I might be reelected, there were folks who were threatening to go to Canada as well," Obama joked. "One of the great things about [our] relationship is it transcends party."

The president also delivered a public pep talk of sorts to Republicans, confessing that the opposition’s collaboration could help improve government, “whether they're in the minority or the majority, whether they occupy the White House or they do not.”

“I think it is very important for them to reflect on what it is about the politics they've engaged in that allows the circus we've been seeing to transpire and to do some introspection because, ultimately, I want an effective Republican Party,” Obama said. “I want a serious, effective Republican Party, in part to challenge some of the blind spots and dogmas in the Democratic Party. I think that's useful.”