I know this has been said before by many professional pundits, but how amazing would this election be if Donald Trump was running against Barack Obama? While Hillary Clinton has a healthy lead in every single national poll, I believe Obama’s lead would be even larger if he was running against Trump. It would be a blowout. It would be crazy. That being said, I love Pres. Obama’s IDGAF phase, the last months of his presidency, where he’s just campaigning for the hell of it and taking down Trump with barely any effort. Obama did a press conference in the Rose Garden yesterday ahead of what will likely be his final State Dinner (for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi) and of course he got some questions about the campaign. Specifically, he was asked about Trump’s constant complaints that the election is “rigged” and that “Crooked Hillary” has aligned with the media to accurately report Trump’s history of craziness, bigotry, racism and misogyny. Pres. Obama’s advice to Trump? “Stop whining.”
— CNN (@CNN) October 18, 2016
Here’s a partial transcript of Obama’s long-winded answer on the “Trump says the election is rigged” question:
“One of the great things about America’s democracy is we have a vigorous, sometimes bitter political contest and when it’s done, historically, regardless of party, the person who loses the election congratulates the winner, who reaffirms our democracy and we move forward. That’s how democracy survives because we recognize that there’s something more important than any individual campaign. And that is making sure that the integrity and trust in our institutions sustains itself. Because democracy, by definition, works by consent, not by force.
I have never seen, in my lifetime or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts; every expert, regardless of political party, regardless of ideology, conservative or liberal, who has ever examined these issues in a serious way, will tell you that instances of significant voter fraud are not to be found, that — keep in mind, elections are run by state and local officials, which means that there are places like Florida, for example, where you’ve got a Republican governor, whose Republican appointees are going to running and monitoring a whole bunch of these election sites. The notion that somehow if Mr. Trump loses Florida, it’s because of those people that you have to watch out for, that is both irresponsible and, by the way, doesn’t really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you want out of a president.
If you start whining before the game’s even over, if whenever things are going badly for you and you lose, you start blaming somebody else, then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job because there are a lot of times when things don’t go our way or my way. That’s OK, you fight through it, you work through it, you try to accomplish your goals. But the larger point I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even — you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved.
There is no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes. And if he got the most votes, then it would be my expectation of Hillary Clinton to offer a gracious concession speech and pledge to work with him in order to make sure that the American people benefit from an effective government. And it would be my job to welcome Mr. Trump, regardless of what he’s said about me or my differences with him on my opinions, and escort him over to the Capitol, in which there would be a peaceful transfer of power.
That’s what Americans do. That’s why America is already great. One way of weakening America, making it less great, is if you start betraying those basic American traditions that have been bipartisan, and have helped to hold together this democracy now for well over two centuries.
Keep in mind, he said this without notes. I’m sure he knew he was going to get this question so he had already thought about what he was going to say, but doesn’t this sound like a State of the Union speech? That’s just how Obama talks. He’s actually riffing when he says “Because democracy, by definition, works by consent, not by force” (which is the t-shirt). He’s riffing when he says “I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.” God… I will just miss him so much. I love that he invoked “whining” TWICE. Because that’s what Trump is – a whiny little tiny-fisted sucky baby, a child who thinks Hillary Clinton is being “mean” to him by, you know, running her campaign.
Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.