COLUMBUS, OHIO — At the same time Donald Trump was complaining to an angry crowd in Cincinnati about the Republican leaders bailing on his bidfor the White House, President Barack Obama took the stage in Columbus to blast the GOP for staying loyal to Trump until now.
“I guess it was okay when Trump was attacking minorities, suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, insulting Gold Star moms, making fun of disabled Americans,” he said. “I guess that didn’t quite tip them over the edge.”
While dozens of Republican officials broke away from Trump over this past week, after a video surfaced of Trump appearing to brag about sexually assaulting women, President Obama called out Ohio Sen. Rob Portman in particular. Portman was one of the last GOP Senate candidates to withdraw his support for Trump, and now says he will write Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence for president — a vote that would not count under Ohio’s laws.
Portman is heavily favored to win reelection, but his dance around Trump has angered both those upset he did not un-endorse sooner, and those whoview him as a “traitor” for not standing by his party’s nominee.
President Obama said of Portman and others who stood by Trump until recently: “They don’t get credit for, at the very last minute, when the guy they nominated and endorsed and supported is caught on tape saying things no decent person would even think, much less say, much less joke about, much less act on, then they say, ‘That’s too much.’ They knew better, and they stood by silently because it was politically convenient.”
“They knew better, and they stood by silently because it was politically convenient.”
In Thursday night’s speech to the Ohio Democratic Party, President Obama not only excoriated Republicans for helping Trump win their party’s nomination, he blasted them for creating a climate of racism and conspiracy theories that allowed Trump to rise to prominence in the first place.
“They’ve been riding this tiger for a long time. They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expediency,” he said. “So when Trump was running around saying I wasn’t born here, they were okay with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio started talking about how I was the antichrist, it was just politics.”
The president also cited Republicans’ officials embrace of other conspiracies, including “Jade Helm” — in which people believed the U.S. military was going to declare martial law in Texas — and the idea that President Obama and Hillary Clinton created ISIS.
“This is the swamp of crazy that has been fed over and over and over and over again,” he said. “All that bile, all that exaggeration and hate and stuff that was not grounded in fact, it just kind of bubbled up. And Donald Trump, as he is known to do, didn’t build the building, but he slapped his name on it and took credit for it.”