Obama: Trump, Huckabee are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘sad’
By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE 7/27/15 8:41 AM EDT
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — It took flying across the world to get President Barack Obama to talk about Donald Trump — and let loose.
Responding at first to a question about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s comments that the Iran nuclear deal is like marching Israelis “to the ovens,” Obama said it’s “part of a general pattern that you’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.”
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The president’s comments, less a calculated strike than an airing of building frustrations, seem to suggest a role Obama will take for himself in the 2016 presidential race: tearing into Republicans as not serious enough, more interested in a sideshow than actually preparing to run the country.
And so he was finally ready to talk Trump, even though Obama has been reluctant to elevate Trump’s comments and push even more attention to him.
Obama cut off a question about Trump’s presidential flirtation at a White House news conference two weeks ago and made just a passing joke about him on a “Daily Show” appearance last week, when he sneered that Republicans must love seeing the billionaire loudmouth at the top of their primary polls. But he seemed almost relieved to be ripping into an old favorite target of his again.
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at the Republican National Committee spring meeting Friday, May 15, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Republicans who complain about Trump now, or criticized him for questioning the war heroism of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), are either being stupid or insincere, Obama said.
“The Republican Party is shocked, and yet that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks have become far too commonplace and get circulated nonstop through the Internet and talk radio, news outlets,” Obama said at a joint news conference with the Ethiopian prime minister here at the Jubilee Palace.
Huckabee’s comment is just the latest example, Obama said, bringing up Trump unprompted as a comparison.
“When you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention, and maybe it’s just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed for America right now,” Obama said.
Obama said it fit with a pattern of GOP statements, such as Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas — another one who gets under his skin — comparing Secretary of State John Kerry to Pontius Pilate over the Iran deal, or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz calling Obama the head of the terrorist opposition.
“These are the leaders of the Republican Party,” Obama sneered.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., left, and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. wait for elevator doors to close during a break in the committee’s deposition of former Ambassador Thomas Pickering regarding events in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, June 4, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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But Republicans have only themselves to blame, Obama added, taking pleasure in noting that some of the very same people who attacked Trump over his McCain comments said nothing when Trump spent part of the 2012 cycle drumming up new fears about Obama’s birth certificate or when others launched unfair attacks on him.
“The point is, we’re creating a culture that is not conducive to good policy or good politics,” Obama said. “In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure that I’m turning over the keys to someone who is serious about the serious problems that the country faces and the world faces.”
Huckabee fired back at Obama in a statement Monday morning.
“What’s ‘ridiculous and sad’ is that President Obama does not take Iran’s repeated threats seriously. For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to ‘destroy,’ annihilate,’ and ‘wipe Israel off the map’ with a ‘big Holocaust,’” the Republican candidate said.
“‘Never again’ will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust,” he added.
Nick Gass contributed to this report.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/obama-talks-trump-in-ethiopia-120656.html#ixzz3h8DGroG9