- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

President Obama says it’s hard to argue that likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is speaking for a broad base of the country, but he cautioned against complacency and smugness and said voters will have the final say.

“I think it’s pretty hard to argue that somebody who almost three-quarters of the country [thinks] is unqualified to be president and has a negative opinion about is tapping into the zeitgeist of the country or is speaking for a broad base of the country. But we’ll find out,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NPR this week.

Mr. Obama had been asked about comments he made during the 2008 campaign about former presidents, like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan, having changed the trajectory of America, and whether Mr. Trump could make a case that he could be the man to change the direction of the country now.

“Look, that’s what elections are for,” Mr. Obama said. “And I think it’s important for Democrats, progressives, moderates, people who care about our traditions, who care about pluralism, who care about tolerance, who care about facts, who think climate change is real, who think that we have to reform our immigration system in an intelligent way, who believe in women’s equality and equality for the LGBT community — I think it’s important for those of us not to be complacent, not to be smug.”

“The one thing I’ve tried to do during the course of my presidency is to take seriously the objections and the criticisms and the concerns of people who didn’t vote for me,” the president said. “I said on election night back in Grant Park [in 2008], I’m president of everybody. I’ve got a particular point of view. I don’t make any apologies for it.”

Mr. Obama said he doesn’t believe in “tribalism,” “stoking divisions,” or “scapegoating,” but he acknowledged that there has been “polarization and division and all kinds of consternation and frustration” during the course of his presidency.

He also said the country has “yanked itself out of a Great Recession,” that millions more now have health insurance, and that the LGBT community is now “recognized as equal in ways that they weren’t before.”

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