Trump exploiting working-class Americans’ fears: Obama
KONFRONTASI - US President Barack Obama says Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is exploiting the resentment and anxieties of working-class Americans to boost his election campaign.
In a radio interview airing on Monday, Obama said that some of the Republican criticism directed at him could be because he is the first African-American to become the US president.
“If you are referring to specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I’m different, I’m Muslim, I’m disloyal to the country, etc. — which unfortunately is pretty far out there, and gets some traction in certain pockets of the Republican Party, and that have been articulated by some of their elected officials — what I’d say there is that that’s probably pretty specific to me, and who I am and my background,” Obama said in the interview with National Public Radio. “In some ways, I may represent change that worries them.”
“That’s not to suggest that everybody who objects to my policies may not have perfectly good reasons for it,” he added.
Stoking flames of resentment
Obama said Trump has fuelled the flames of resentment among workers who have been thrown out of the economy by technological innovation and the 2008 financial crisis.
He stated that “particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck,” he said.
“You combine those things and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear,” Obama said. “Some of it justified, but just misdirected.”
“I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That’s what he’s exploiting during the course of his campaign,” he added.
Trump still surging
Trump, who has never held elected office, is still leading the crowded Republican presidential primary field, despite the fact that his campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and Muslims.
Trump says he would deport 11 million undocumented workers from the United States and would establish a "deportation force" for this purpose.
He has also promised to expel undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the US-Mexico border. In addition, he has proposed repealing the constitutional right to citizenship of anyone born on US soil.
Trump has also created a furor in the US and around the world by proposing a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the United States, following last month's mass shooting in California.
The New York real-estate mogul has also called for a database to track Muslims across the United States, and he has also said that the US would have "absolutely no choice" but to close down mosques.
Trump’s fiery remarks on immigration, Muslims and other issues have dominated the 2016 election campaign, and during the fifth GOP debate on Tuesday night the billionaire businessman repeated his controversial remarks, drawing rebukes from several of his rivals. [ptv]