Presidential candidate Donald Trump and President Barack Obama took advantage of TV safe zones to make pointed remarks about the other today, in the wake of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.
Obama took his swings during a televised event at the U.S. Capitol, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery after the Civil War. Trump, meanwhile, visited Live With Kelly & Michael — less august perhaps, but maybe more viewers.
“We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms,” Obama said pointedly during his remarks, calling on citizens to “hold fast to our values. … All it requires is that our generation be willing to do what those who came before us have done: to rise above the cynicism and rise above the fear.”
He told listeners “to remember that our freedom is bound up in the freedom of others, regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, or what their last name is, or what faith they practice.” That obvious reference to the GOP front-runner brought the crowd of politicians attending to its feet – with notable exception of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reported The Hill in its coverage from the event.
“This has nothing to do with religion; it’s about safety,” Trump insisted of his proposal to “shut the door” on all Muslims trying to enter the country, as Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan listened politely. The remark seemed to play well with a receptive studio audience, one of whom had been heard telling Trump “You’ve got my vote” as Ripa hugged him upon his entrance.
“We’re going to have tremendous problems. It’s getting worse and worse, and those problems are coming from a certain sector. Our country has to get its act together,” Trump said, again insisting his ban would be for a limited period of time, though without defining “limited period.”
“I say things that are absolutely correct, and sometimes they’re not politically correct, and sometimes people don’t agree with them,” Trump said. “I tell the truth.”
Also getting no rise of protest from the hosts or audience, Trump reiterated his “I hate the media” message, while simultaneously crediting the media with saving him about $30M so far in his campaign. That’s because the media covers his every move so incessantly that he hasn’t had to buy ad time, he explained.
“I get so much television,” he boasted, that if the TV networks’ flood-the-zone Trump coverage was interrupted for Trump commercials, “people would get sick of it. I’m about $30 million under budget, which is nice,” he smiled.