US President Barack Obama lambasted likely Republican nominee Donald Trump during a speaking event in Elkhart, Indiana, on 1 June. The president made additional comments during a PBS Newshour-hosted town hall event, as he campaigns to ensure he is replaced by a Democrat in the November general elections.
When asked about Trump's campaign slogan by host Gwen Ifill, Obama responded: "I think America's pretty great." The president, who is nearing the end of this second term in office, noted that the American economy and its diversity have contributed to its strength.
"We've got some challenges. And we've just come through a very rough stretch as a consequence of the financial crisis. But overall not only are we recovered from the crisis that we had, but we are well positioned to do extraordinarily well going forward as long as we make some good decisions," the president said.
The town hall occurred shortly after an impassioned speech about the American economy, which he also used to blast many of Trump's policy proposals. According to NBC News, Obama opted not to use Trump's name during his speech, instead referring to him as the "Republican nominee".
He was later asked during the two hall why he opted to not use the billionaire real estate mogul's name. "You know, he seems to do a good job mentioning his own name. So, you know, I figured I'll let him do his advertising for him."
Obama called Trump's proposal to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants a "fantasy" and he rebuked the notion that native-born Americans are losing their employments to immigrants.
Later during the town hall gathering, the president criticised Trump's assurances that he could use his business experience to kick start economic growth. "He just says, 'I'm gonna negotiate a better deal.' Well how? How exactly are you going to negotiate that?" Obama said. "What magic wand do you have? And usually the answer is, he doesn't have an answer."
In what is likely to become his strategy in the final stage of his presidency, Obama praised former President Bill Clinton's work on the economy. "If that is what you are concerned about, the economy, the debate is not even close," he said. However, NBC News noted that Obama did not mention either Democratic presidential candidate – Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – but earlier indications signal he favours the former secretary of state.
According to Gallup, President Obama's approval rating is at 52% among Americans. That could benefit the Democratic presidential nominee as political science research shows that if an outgoing president is popular, than his party's nominee is more likely to win.