Obama: Trump's rhetoric is xenophobic,
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[June 30, 2016]
By Roberta Rampton
OTTAWA (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack
Obama is tired of hearing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
described as a populist.
The Democratic leader, who has made no secret of his dislike for
the wealthy businessman's rhetoric, closed a news conference in
Canada on Wednesday with a long riff on what makes a leader
qualified for the "populist" mantra.
Trump did not meet the criteria, Obama said, without mentioning the
Republican by name.
“Somebody ... who has never shown any regard for workers, has never
fought on behalf of social justice issues or making sure that poor
kids are getting a decent shot at life or have health care," does
not meet the definition, Obama said.
"They don't suddenly become a populist because they say something
controversial in order to win votes. That's not the measure of
populism. That's nativism, or xenophobia. Or worse. Or it's just
cynicism," he said.
Trump won enough grassroots support among Republicans to make him
the party's presumptive presidential nominee with a pledge to ban
Muslims temporarily from entering the United States and to build a
wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, and a series of other
Obama has sharply criticized Trump for such rhetoric.
He plans to campaign with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, next week. The
president's latest criticism of Trump could foreshadow Obama's
strategy to help Clinton on the campaign trail.
He made a point of saying U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont,
Clinton's opponent in the race for the Democratic presidential
nomination, genuinely deserved the title of populist.
[to top of second column]
President Barack Obama addresses Parliament in the House of Commons
on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 29, 2016.
Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist and generated
huge support from young people across the United States in his
Clinton needs those supporters now, and Obama, who won the White
House in 2008 and 2012 with a similar coalition, will try to help
deliver them for her.
Obama, who leaves office in January, made his comments on Wednesday
with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President
Enrique Pena Nieto looking on.
"Sorry," Obama said after his more-than-six-minute monologue. "It's
the prerogative of an outgoing president to go on an occasional
rant, he said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by
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