8, September 2018
Former US President Barack Obama has assailed his successor Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers ahead of the upcoming mid-term congressional elections, urging Democrats to curtail the administration’s “abuses of power” and restore a sense of sanity to US politics by voting in November.
In an unusually blistering attack on Trump, Obama said Friday that Americans were living in dangerous times and accused the president and other Republicans of threatening US democracy, dividing the country and undermining Washington’s global alliances.
“In two months we have the chance, not the certainty, but the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics,” he said in a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “There is actually only one check on bad policy and abuses of power, and that’s you and your vote.”
Obama also mocked Trump for taking credit for the recent economic growth that began under Obama’s administration, and said Trump was exploiting economic anger and cultural fears that have grown in recent years amid societal upheavals.
Trump was dismissive of Obama’s speech. “I’m sorry, I watched it but I fell asleep,” he said during a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota. “I found that he’s very, very good for sleeping.”
Other Republicans also shrugged off Obama’s criticism. “In 2016, voters rejected President Obama’s policies and his dismissiveness towards half the country. Doubling down on that strategy won’t work in 2018 either,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens.
Both major political parties are urging their supporters to vote in the November 6 midterm elections, when Democrats need to gain 23 seats in the House of Representatives and two seats in the Senate to gain majorities in both chambers of Congress and frustrate Trump’s agenda.
The November elections have been seen as a referendum on Trump, who faces a widening federal investigation over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and growing questions about his fitness for office, even by some within his own administration.
The White House has been shaken by an explosive, anonymous article on The New York Times that has plunged Trump’s presidency into its worst crisis yet.
The unsigned article published Wednesday, claimed that senior US officials were quietly working within the Trump administration to frustrate the president’s “worst inclinations.”
Trump has slammed the “gutless coward” who wrote the article and suggested he might take action against the newspaper.