Trump told to ‘stop whin­ing’

Obama takes a jab, but GOP nom­i­nee re­frains from re­tort

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Michael A. Me­moli and Christi Par­sons Los An­ge­les Times staff writ­ers Noah Bier­man in Colorado, Evan Halper aboard the Clin­ton cam­paign plane and The Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­uted.

WASH­ING­TON— Pres­i­dent Barack Obama all but in­vited Don­ald Trump on Tues­day to jump into a fight with him, bait­ing the GOP nom­i­nee as he faces an over­whelm­ing dis­ad­van­tage in the polls just three weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day.

Speak­ing to re­porters at the White House, Obama mocked Trump for com­plain­ing, while the race is still afoot, that the vote­count­ing sys­tem may be “rigged.”

“If you start whin­ing be­fore the game’s even over, if when­ever things are go­ing badly for you and you lose, you start blam­ing some­body else, then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job,” Obama said.

“I’d in­vite Mr. Trump to stop whin­ing and go try to make his case to get votes.”

Though tak­ing on the pop­u­lar pres­i­dent would be an unconventional strat­egy, Trump has proved that he is sus­cep­ti­ble to provo­ca­tion, and Obama seemed to be aim­ing atthat vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

Trump, whose dis­dain for Obama dates back to his am­pli­fi­ca­tion of the so­called birther move­ment, held his fire pub­licly. He re­ferred to Obama only gen­er­ally at a rally in Colorado.

But a more sig­nif­i­cant re­join­der ap­peared to be in the works; he planned to in­vite Obama’s es­tranged half-brother as his guest to Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal pres­i­den­tial de­bate, a cam­paign aide said.

Ma­lik Obama, a few years older than the pres­i­dent, is the son of Obama’s fa­ther and a dif­fer­ent wife. He has met the pres­i­dent a few times, but the two are not close. He has told re­porters Pres­i­dent Barack Obama takes on Don­ald Trump’s com­plaints of a “rigged sys­tem” at a news con­fer­ence Tues­day. in re­cent weeks that he sup­ports Trump for pres­i­dent.

For Trump, the pro­longed si­lence was a de­par­ture. He has re­peat­edly re­sponded to crit­i­cism by fir­ing in anger, fu­el­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton’s ar­gu­ment that he lacks the tem­per­a­ment to serve as pres­i­dent.

Trump feuded with Fox News an­chor Megyn Kelly af­ter she ques­tioned him dur­ing the first GOP pri­mary de­bate last year, and he spent days dur­ing the sum­mer com­plain­ing af­ter the par­ents of an Army cap­tain killed in Iraq crit­i­cized him.

Af­ter the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate, as Trump at­tacked a for­mer Miss Uni­verse whom he had pub­licly shamed for gain­ing weight, sup­port­ers be­gan aban­don­ing him, polls show.

On Tues­day, Trump con- tin­ued to in­sist that voter fraud is “all too com­mon” and could cost him the elec­tion. He pro­vided sup­port­ers with a list of three cities where they should watch for cor­rup­tion on Elec­tion Day. Only one, Philadel­phia, is in a bat­tle­ground state.

“Take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at Philadel­phia. Take a look at Chicago,” he said at a rally in Grand Junc­tion, Colo. “Look, look, if noth­ing else, peo­ple are go­ing to be watch­ing on Nov. 8. Watch Philadel­phia. Watch St. Louis. Watch Chicago, watch Chicago. Watch so many other places.”

Obama’s jab at Trump was the cul­mi­na­tion of Demo­cratic ef­forts to frame the elec­tion not just as a choice be­tween party philoso­phies but as a cru­cial mo­ment in Amer­i­can democ­racy.

With his dark warn­ings about the elec­tion re­sults, Trump is “try­ing to dis­tract from the bad story line of his ver­bal and phys­i­cal as­saults on women,” said se­nior Clin­ton ad­viser Jen­nifer Palmieri. “And be­cause he’s los­ing and he wants to blame some­body else — and that’s what losers do.”

Obama, stand­ing along­side Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi, , vowed to be more “sub­dued” talk­ing about the pres­i­den­tial race than he has been on the cam­paign t rail while stump­ing for Clin­ton. As it turned out, he cast more shade in the Rose Gar­den news con­fer­ence than at al­most any turn in re­cent weeks.

He mocked Trump for his “flat­tery” of Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. He faux-mar­veled at how some Repub­li­cans aban- doned their skep­ti­cism of Putin to sup­port Trump.

Then he turned to Trump’s com­plaints of a “rigged sys­tem,” sug­gest­ing that Trump is dis­cred­it­ing the elec­tion process rather than try­ing to sell his ideas to vot­ers.

“It hap­pens to be based on no facts,” he said. Se­ri­ous an­a­lysts, he said, “will tell you that in­stances of sig­nif­i­cant voter fraud are not to be found.”

Gen­er­a­tions of de­feated pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in the U.S. have con­ceded to their win­ners and par­tic­i­pated in a peace­ful trans­fer of power, Obama said.

“Democ­racy by def­i­ni­tion works by con­sent,” Obama said. What Trump is do­ing, he said, “is un­prece­dented.”

Trump’s protests fail to show “the kind of lead­er­ship and tough­ness” vot­ers want in a pres­i­dent, Obama said.

The of­fi­cial visit of the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter for a state din­ner, the 13th and fi­nal of Obama’s pres­i­dency, was re­plete with al­lu­sions to the un­usual pres­i­den­tial con­test.

As he wel­comed Renzi to the White House, Obama noted that “Amer­ica was built by im­mi­grants. Amer­ica is stronger be­cause of im­mi­grants,” he said.

Renzi spoke of build­ing “bridges, not walls,” an in­di­rect ref­er­ence to Trump’s call to build a wall along the bor­der with Mex­ico.

NI­CHOLAS KAMM/GETTY-AFP

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