Obama hits ‘crazy’ Repub­li­cans as Trump fal­ters

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

COLUM­BUS — Barack Obama sought to lash Repub­li­cans tight to their sink­ing White House nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, as the out­go­ing US pres­i­dent vis­ited the key swing state of Ohio on Thurs­day.

With an eye on win­ning back con­trol of Congress, Obama blamed Repub­li­cans writ large for back­ing a can­di­date who “proves him­self un­fit and un­qual­i­fied” for the pres­i­dency “ev­ery time he talks.”

Obama said that Trump came from a “swamp of crazy” that Repub­li­cans had cul­ti­vated over decades.

“They’ve been rid­ing this tiger for a long time,” he said. “They’ve been feed­ing their base all kinds of crazy for years.”

Tak­ing aim at the scan­dal over Trump’s brag­ging about grop­ing women, Obama said that Repub­li­cans who have not disowned him should not be let off the hook. “They don’t get credit for, at the very last minute when fi­nally the guy that they nom­i­nated and they en­dorsed and they sup­ported, is caught on tape say­ing things that no de­cent per­son would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on.”

“The peo­ple who knew bet­ter didn’t say any­thing,” Obama said. “They stood by while this hap­pened.”

“And Don­ald Trump — as he is prone to do — he didn’t build the build­ing him­self, he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it.”

Hil­lary Clin­ton is now the favourite to win the White House, but the bal­ance of the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is much less clear.

Repub­li­cans have con­trolled both houses of Congress for the en­tirety of Obama’s sec­ond term, thwart­ing many of his pol­icy goals.

They are now fight­ing a rear-guard ac­tion to re­tain con­trol, ar­gu­ing im­plic­itly that there needs to be a con­gres­sional check on a Clin­ton White House.

Obama’s re­marks came in the usu­ally piv­otal bat­tle­ground state, where Trump has long held a lead. A poll on Thurs­day had Clin­ton marginally ahead. But the state’s Demo­cratic Se­nate nom­i­nee Ted Strick­land — who ap­peared on stage with Obama — is get­ting pum­melled.

Mean­while, Trump has de­nied mul­ti­ple women’s claims that he sex­u­ally as­saulted them as “to­tally and ab­so­lutely false”.

“The claims are pre­pos­ter­ous, lu­di­crous and defy truth, com­mon sense and logic,” Trump said at a cam­paign rally in Florida.

“We al­ready have sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence to dis­pute these lies, and it will be made pub­lic in an ap­pro­pri­ate way and at an ap­pro­pri­ate time, very soon.”

Two women ac­cused Trump of in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing in a story pub­lished on Wed­nes­day by The New York Times, just four weeks be­fore the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion.

The re­port was fol­lowed by a stream of sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions from other women, putting more pres­sure on the Trump cam­paign as it lags in na­tional opin­ion polls and strug­gles to con­tain a cri­sis caused by the can­di­date’s com­ments about grop­ing women with­out their con­sent that sur­faced on Fri­day.

One of the women, Jes­sica Leeds, ap­peared on cam­era on The Times’ web­site to re­count how Trump al­legedly grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt on a flight to New York in or around 1980.

The sec­ond woman, Rachel Crooks, de­scribed how Trump al­legedly “kissed me di­rectly on the mouth” in 2005 out­side the el­e­va­tor in Trump Tower in Man­hat­tan, where she was a re­cep­tion­ist at a real es­tate firm.

Trump’s cam­paign de­nied there was any truth to the ac­counts. It made pub­lic a let­ter to the news­pa­per from Marc Ka­sowitz, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Trump, de­mand­ing it re­tract the story, call­ing it “li­bel­lous” and threat­en­ing le­gal ac­tion if it did not com­ply.

“We stand by the story, which falls clearly into the realm of pub­lic ser­vice jour­nal­ism,” a New York Times spokes­woman said.

The re­port comes two days af­ter a Reuters/Ip­sos opin­ion poll showed one-in-five Repub­li­cans said they thought Trump’s com­ments about grop­ing women dis­qual­i­fied him from the pres­i­dency, and put him eight points be­hind Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton among likely vot­ers.— Al Jazeera

Don­ald Trump

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