In an interview Sunday with Obama, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked what does he make of the people who are supporting Donald Trump?
Obama said Trump is appealing to a certain group of folks who feel left out or left behind, are intolerant and anti-immigrant, but that they don’t represent “the majority of America.” He issued a threat that “we have to be pretty hard about saying no” to Trump supporters’ intolerance of immigrants.
Obama said, “There’s a long tradition in the United States of inclusion, immigration, diversity, but also people once they’re included in what they consider to be the real America, worried about outsiders, contaminating, polluting, messing up a good thing. That’s not new. That dates back to the beginning of this country. What I’m always reminding people is that although you’ll see bumps, whether it’s the no-nothings, or, you know, other anti-immigrant sentiment directed at the Irish or Southern Europeans as opposed to Northern Europeans or the Chinese, or today Latinos or Muslims, the long-term trend is people get absorbed, people get assimilated.
We benefit from this incredible country in which the measure of your patriotism and how American you are is not the color of your skin, your last name, your faith, but rather your adherence to a creed, your belief in certain principles and values.” “I don’t expect that’s going to change simply because Mr. Trump’s got a little more attention than usual.”
Obama went on. “I think if you look at the current polls, he’s been able to appeal to a certain group of folks who feel left out or worried about the demographic change, social change, who have legitimate concerns around the economy and feeling left behind. But that’s not the majority of America. And if you talk to younger people, the next generation of Americans, they completely reject the kinds of positions that he has taken. We have to take it seriously, any time that we hear intolerance, any time that we hear policy measures that are contrary to our values, banning certain classes of people, who they are and what they look at, what faith they practice, then we have to be pretty hard about saying no to that. And I think American will do that this time as well. Overall, I’m optimistic, but I think we have to pay close attention to what’s going on.”
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