With more grey hair but no political office to seek, President Obama evoked the campaign passion that propelled him to the White House eight years ago, challenging presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in his most pointed assault on the New York businessman to date.
Delivering remarks on the economy in Elkhart, Indiana, the president made the case for four more years of progressive policies in the White House while aiming to “challenge the assumptions” of the rhetoric during the GOP presidential primary.
Without ever identifying Trump by name, Obama aimed to discredit his policy proposals, underscoring his belief that a President Trump would return the United States to the depths of the financial crisis.
“When I hear working families thinking about voting for those plans, then I want to have an intervention,” he said.
Citing a proposal to enact tax cuts for the top “one-tenth of one percent,” Obama said it would help billionaires like Trump, not the working class, and “explode our deficits by nearly $10 trillion.”
“That is not going to make your lives better,” Obama said. “That will help people like him! That’s the truth.”
The president ripped Trump’s immigration proposal, dubbing it “a fantasy” that’s “logistically impossible.”
“In today’s economy, we can’t put up walls around America,” he said. “We’re not going to round up 11 million people.”
Obama also touted Wall Street Reform, criticizing Trump for pledging to overturn regulations imposed in the wake of the financial crisis.
“The Republican nominee for president has already said he’d dismantle all these rules that we passed,” he said of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. “That is crazy!
“I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes I just don’t get it. How it is that somebody could propose that we weaken regulations on Wall Street?” he asked incredulously. “Have we really forgotten what just happened eight years ago? It hasn’t been that long ago.”
While the president has insisted he will not respond to every tweet Trump posts on Twitter, he discouraged voters from supporting Trump because he “sounds funny or his tweets are provocative.”
“The notion that you would vote for anybody who would now allow [Wall Street] to go back to doing the same stuff that almost broke our economy’s back makes no sense,” he said. “I don’t care whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent. Why would you do that?”
The president begged off calls for “four more years,” citing the U.S. Constitution and First Lady Michelle Obama’s opposition to another term in the White House.
“Now, I’m a politician for next six months or so, but I’m not running again,” Obama insisted, drawing groans from the crowd.
When the president was interrupted by boos after he mentioned the “Republican candidate,” the president demanded, “No booing. We’re voting."
He added: “If we get cynical and just vote our fears or if we don’t vote at all, we won’t build on the progress that we started. We’ve got to come together around our common values…. That’s what makes us great!”