Obama takes issue with Trump and his supporters
GREENSBORO, N.C. >> Exposing the nation’s sharp political divisions as Election Day nears, supporters of Republican Donald Trump repeatedly interrupted President Barack Obama on Tuesday as he urged North Carolina Democrats to take advantage of early voting and cast their presidential ballots for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Obama also delivered a sharp indictment of Republicans who continue to support Trump’s bid despite hearing him on a recently released video recording from 2005 talking in vulgar terms about making unwanted sexual advances toward women.
“The fact that now you’ve got people saying, ‘Well, we strongly disapprove. We really disagree. We find those comments disgusting. But we’re still endorsing him. We still think he should be president.’ That doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama told several thousand people at a raucous outdoor rally.
“Now I hear then some people saying, ‘Well, I’m a Christian so I’m all about forgiveness because nobody’s perfect,’” Obama said. “Well, that is true. I am certainly not perfect ... and I, too, believe in forgiveness and redemption, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to elect the person president.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was “sickened” by Trump’s comments on the recording, and he rescinded an invitation for Trump to join him at a weekend rally in his Wisconsin congressional district. But Ryan has not pulled his endorsement of Trump, as some other Republicans have. Still, he has told fellow House Republicans he would not defend Trump or campaign with him and would focus on protecting the House GOP majority.
Obama said some Republicans were trying to have it both ways.
“You can’t repeatedly denounce what is said by someone and then say, ‘But I’m still going to endorse him to be the most powerful person on the planet’ and put them in charge,” he said.
Several minutes after Obama started speaking, a young man and a woman who appeared to be Trump supporters moved toward the stage and revealed Tshirts that said “Bill Clinton Rapist.” They were quickly escorted out by security.
Immediately before Sunday’s presidential debate in St. Louis, Trump appeared with three women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of committing sexual crimes against them. Clinton was never charged in those cases. The women later attended the debate.