Obama rips Trump, GOP for ‘mak­ing stuff up’

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - News - BY IVAN MORENO AND DAVID EGGERT

For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ten­ure in of­fice Fri­day in fiery speeches in Mil­wau­kee and Detroit that took aim at him and other Repub­li­cans for “mak­ing stuff up.”

The speeches were among Obama’s sharpest and most di­rect take­downs of Trump’s pres­i­dency, although the for­mer pres­i­dent was care­ful to not men­tion Trump by name. He said the “char­ac­ter of our coun­try is on the bal­lot” in the first midterm elec­tion since Trump took of­fice.

Obama cited a re­cent Trump com­ment that he would pass a tax cut be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tion. Obama then told the crowds in high school gym­na­si­ums that “Con­gress isn’t even in ses­sion be­fore the elec­tion! He just makes it up!”

At one point Obama said in Wis­con­sin: “Here’s the thing. Ev­ery­thing I say you can look up.”

Obama’s vis­its were to urge peo­ple to vote for Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin’s Demo­cratic can­di­dates. While Trump was fre­quently the tar­get of his crit­i­cism, he did not spare Repub­li­cans gen­er­ally and said they are ly­ing when they say they want to pro­tect peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions while try­ing to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“What we have not seen be­fore in our pub­lic life is politi­cians just bla­tantly, re­peat­edly, baldly, shame­lessly, ly­ing. Just mak­ing stuff up,” Obama said. “Call­ing up, down. Call­ing black, white. That’s what your gover­nor is do­ing with th­ese ads, just mak­ing stuff up,” he said, re­fer­ring to Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can Gov. Scott Walker and his as­ser­tions that he wants to pro­tect health care for those with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions. Walker is be­ing chal­lenged by Demo­crat Tony Evers.

In Michi­gan, Obama cred­ited Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Gretchen Whit­mer for help­ing to ex­pand Med­ic­aid and said “few peo­ple fought against it harder” than her Repub­li­can op­po­nent, state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bill Schuette. He said vot­ers can trust Sen. Deb­bie Stabenow to pro­tect peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions be­cause “she was there” to help pass his health law. She is fac­ing a chal­lenge from Repub­li­can John James, whom Obama crit­i­cized for say­ing he backs Trump’s agenda “2,000 per­cent.”

Obama used the sub­ject of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server to ac­cuse Repub­li­cans of try­ing to “scare the heck out of peo­ple be­fore ev­ery elec­tion” and also to mock Trump about the Chi­nese spy­ing on his cell­phone.

“In the last elec­tion, it was Hil­lary’s emails. ‘This is ter­ri­ble’ … ‘This is a na­tional se­cu­rity cri­sis.’ They didn’t care about emails and you know how you know? Be­cause if they did, they’d be up in arms right now that the Chi­nese are lis­ten­ing to the pres­i­dent’s iPhone that he leaves in his golf cart.”

Obama spoke about the slow-mov­ing mi­grant car­a­van from Cen­tral Amer­i­can bound for the United States as an­other ex­am­ple of a Repub­li­can scare tac­tic.

“Now the lat­est, they’re try­ing to con­vince ev­ery­body to be afraid of a bunch of im­pov­er­ished, mal­nour­ished refugees a thou­sand miles away,” he said. “That’s the thing that is the most im­por­tant thing in this elec­tion,” he said. “Not health care, not whether or not folks are able to re­tire, do­ing some­thing about higher wages, re­build­ing our roads and bridges and putting peo­ple back to work.”

“Sud­denly,” he con­tin­ued, chang­ing his voice to a high-pitch to strike a mock­ing tone, “it’s th­ese group of folks. We don’t even know where they are. They’re right down there.”

Re­fer­ring to Trump’s prom­ise to “drain the swamp,” Obama said that in­stead “they have gone to Wash­ing­ton and just plun­dered away.”

“In Wash­ing­ton they have racked up enough in­dict­ments to field a foot­ball team,” he said. “No­body in my ad­min­is­tra­tion got in­dicted.”

Obama’s visit to Mil­wau­kee was the first time he was in the city for a po­lit­i­cal event since March 2016, when he came to cel­e­brate en­roll­ment num­bers in the Af­ford­able Care Act. He did not cam­paign for Hil­lary Clin­ton in Wis­con­sin, a state she nar­rowly lost that proved cru­cial to Trump be­com­ing pres­i­dent.

Michi­gan is an­other im­por­tant state in the Mid­west that Democrats lost in 2016, de­spite Obama’s visit the day be­fore the elec­tion.

“I’m hope­ful, Michi­gan,” he said.

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