I understand Joe Heck now wishes he never said those things about Donald Trump. But they’re on tape. They’re on the record. And now that Trump’s poll numbers are cratering, suddenly he says, well, no, I’m not supporting him.
Too late. You don’t get credit for that. I’m being serious here. Hold on a second. I want to make a point here. I know a lot of Republicans. I’ve got Republican friends, I’ve got members of my family who are Republicans, and they don’t think the way Donald Trump does. I understand that. So I’m not generalizing about all Republicans. But here’s the thing: for years, Republican politicians and the far-right media outlets have pumped up all kinds of crazy stuff about me, about Hillary, about Harry. They said I wasn’t born here. They said climate change is a hoax. They said that I was going to take everybody’s guns away. They said that, when we were doing military exercises that we’ve been doing — forever — suddenly this was a plot to impose martial law. This is what they’ve been saying for years now. So people have been hearing it, and they start thinking, well, maybe this is true.
And so if the world that they’ve been seeing is that I’m powerful enough to cause hurricanes on my own, and to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night, and impose martial law, even though I can’t talk without a prompter — then is it any wonder that they end up nominating somebody like Donald Trump?
And the fact is, is that there are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better. But they went along with these stories because they figured, you know what, this will help rile up the base, it will give us an excuse to obstruct what we’re trying to do, we won’t be able to appoint judges, we’ll gum up the works, we’ll create gridlock, it will give us a political advantage.
So they just stood by and said nothing. And their base began to actually believe this crazy stuff. So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it. He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That’s what he does.
—President Barack Obama
Remarks by the President at Rally for HFA and Senate Candidate Catherine Cortez Masto
H/T: Brian Beutler