icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
7 Sep, 2018 21:24

‘Fell asleep’: Trump unimpressed as Obama makes 1st public attack on his policies in midterm speech

Former President Barack Obama has backed the Democratic party’s campaign efforts by throwing shade at President Donald Trump and voicing support for progressive policies. Trump shot back that he found it “very good for sleeping.”

Obama, who bar a handful of public appearances and an exclusive content deal with Netflix has been relatively quiet since leaving the Oval Office, accused Trump of “capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years,” during a speech at the University of Illinois on Friday.

Obama unloaded on Trump for a litany of supposed misdeeds: his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last fall; his failure to thoroughly condemn the far-right after last year’s deadly rally in Charlottesville; and his bashing of the press. Obama also swiped at the president for his earlier comparing of himself with iconic Republican Abraham Lincoln, and for his statement that he would ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the mystery writer of an anonymous New York Times op-ed criticizing his leadership style from within.

After his vitriolic condemnation of Trump, Obama offered a solution: Vote Democrat. “You need to vote because our democracy depends on it,” he told the students in attendance.

Trump appeared unshook by Obama’s speech. At a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota, he told the crowd that he even “fell asleep” watching it.

"I'm sorry. I watched it, but I fell asleep. I found he's very good, very good for sleeping," the president said. Trump also bashed Obama for trying to take credit for the US’ recent economic success, marked by record low unemployment and modest wage growth.

"He was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that's happening to our country," Trump said, accusing Obama of overseeing the "weakest recovery in the history of our country" since the Great Depression.

Obama’s speech, like much Democratic Party rhetoric of late, was heavily anti-Trump – but also rather light on solutions.

The former president did however appear to endorse the idea of universal, single-payer healthcare, a position that he opposed while in office. He now called Medicare-for-all, popularized by progressive leader Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) a “good idea,” and voiced his support for a higher minimum wage, also a progressive rallying point.

He also nodded to modern progressive policies by saying that “we need more women in charge” in America.

Obama’s scattergun attack on Trump and the GOP, while well received in liberal circles, prompted Republican Representative Mark Meadows to respond: “Former President Obama just offered an eloquent reminder of why Americans made the right choice when they elected President Trump.”

Obama has long held that he would only step back into the political arena if he thought that America’s political norms were in danger. Rep. Steve Stivers welcomed Obama’s return, saying that his presence “fired up Republicans like nobody,” and would unite the party in the run-up to November’s contentious midterm elections.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!