- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

President Obama is continuing to tweak presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying in a new interview that no successful businessman in America actually thinks Mr. Trump is the most successful businessman in the country.

“There’s no successful businessman in America who actually thinks the most successful businessman in the country is Donald Trump. I know those guys, and so do you, and I guarantee you, that’s not their view,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published this week.

Mr. Obama had said he tells interns and young people that as tough as things seem right now, they shouldn’t believe people who say they wish they could go back to the good old days.

“Because the good old days aren’t — I’m now old enough where I remember some of those good old days,” he said.

Mr. Obama was then asked if it annoys him that the most successful businessman in America, “at least by his own reckoning,” is Mr. Trump. The real estate tycoon is campaigning on a slogan of “make America great again.”

In the interview, Mr. Obama also said the economy has come a long way since he came into office, but that Congress has stymied him in key areas.

“The things we have not done that we need to do, that could make an enormous difference, are proposals I’ve put forward that Congress has so far blocked. The most obvious one would be infrastructure,” he said.

“We have about $2 trillion worth of deferred maintenance. And those are jobs that can’t be shipped overseas,” Mr. Obama said. “Those are jobs that economists will tell you create a multiplier effect throughout the economy, but also lay the foundation for long-term productivity. And at a time when capital is so cheap, for us not to be doing that is crazy.”

He also mentioned immigration reform and making college more affordable.

On trade, the president said surveys show the majority of Americans support free trade. But he acknowledged that some of the trade deals of the past, and the way in which globalization has occurred over the last 40 years, has not always been to the United States’ advantage.

“My argument with my friends in the union movement, for example — and I’m a strong union supporter — is if you’re fighting that battle, you’re fighting the last war. That you have to recognize that globalization is here to stay,” Mr. Obama said.

“That to keep one of the auto plants that have reopened and grown here in the United States operating at full capacity—they’re relying on parts from all over the world, and trying to disentangle that is all but impossible,” he said. “And our goal, then, should be to try to shape trade deals that raise standards everywhere. And that’s what we’ve done with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

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