MILWAUKEE (AP) — Former President Barack Obama criticized President Donald Trump’s tenure in office in a fiery speech that took aim at him and other Republicans for “making stuff up.”
The speech was one of Obama’s sharpest and most direct takedowns of Trump’s presidency, although the former president was careful to never mention Trump by name Friday.
Obama cited a recent Trump comment that he would pass a tax cut before the November election. Obama then told the crowd in a Milwaukee high school gymnasium that “Congress isn’t even in session. He just makes it up.”
Obama’s visit in Milwaukee was to urge people to vote for Wisconsin’s Democratic candidates.
At one point Obama said “everything I say you can look up.”
BARACK OBAMA: Look, listen. Throughout human history... Certainly throughout American history, politicians have exaggerated. They make promises that they may try to fulfill but then it turns out to be harder than they expected.
They pump up the things that they did that were good. They downplay the things that didn't work out so good. They try to put a positive spin on things.
And, by the way, before you get too down on politicians, we all do that now.
You know, when I'm talking to Michelle sometimes I'm not like, "Oh, honey, man, did you see I did all the dishes?"
You know, and she's all like "Ehhh. But that's the first time you've done that in a week. What's -- what'd you do wrong?"
And I said, "Well..."
We all do that to some degree, right? I mean it's human nature. But what we have not seen before, in our recent public life at least, is politicians just blatantly, repeatedly, baldly, shamelessly, lying.
Making stuff up. Calling up, down. Calling black, white. That's what your governor is doing with these ads, just making stuff up -- what he's saying is just not true.
And, by the way, that's what Republicans in Congress are doing all across the country on -- on this preexisting condition thing. They're running ads everywhere saying, "we're the ones protecting it."
It's not true.
The president said he pass a middle-class tax cut before the next election. Congress isn't even in session. He just makes it up.
He says, "I'm going to protect your preexisting conditions," while his Justice Department is in court right now trying to strike down those protections. That is not spin, that's not exaggeration, that's not trying to put a -- a positive glow on things, that's lying.
And look, it -- it'd be one thing if it was the first time but -- but they -- they've done this often. They just -- and -- and accompanying making stuff up, they then try to scare the heck -- scare the heck out of people before every election. It's always something a little bit different.
And then, suddenly, the election comes and the problem they were scaring you about is suddenly magically gone, you never hear about it again.
All right, so -- so let me just kind of run through this just to jog your memory. In the 2010 midterms it was government bureaucrats are going to kill your grandma. Remember? Death panels, just made it up. But that was a thing.
2014, Ebola is going to kill all of us. Remember that? In the last election it was Hillary's e-mails. This is terrible. Hillary's e-mails -- we were hearing e-mails everywhere. This is a national security crisis.
They didn't care about e-mails. And you know how they know? Because, if they did, they'd be up in arms right now as the Chinese are listening to the president's iPhone...
... That he leaves in his golf cart. It turns out it wasn't -- I guess it wasn't that important. They scared you about the deficits. Now, now the latest thing they're -- they're convinced -- they're trying to convince everybody to be afraid of a bunch of impoverished, malnourished refugees 1,000 miles away. OBAMA: That's -- that's the thing that is the most important thing in this election, not healthcare, not -- not, you know, whether or not folks are able to retire. Not, you know, doing something about higher wages or rebuilding our roads and bridges and putting people back to work.
Suddenly it's this group of folks; we don't even know where they are. They're way down there.
That's the biggest thing. And you know, as soon as the election's over, everybody will be like, "What - what happened? We were being invaded; where did it go." And you know what? It would be funny except they do it every time, and too often it works.
And everybody gets all freaked out, and we got to stop falling for this stuff. We're like Charlie Brown with football. You can't fall for that okie doke. Don't be hoodwinked; don't be bamboozled. Wisconsin, don't fall for that kind of fear-mongering, because while they are distracting you with all this stuff, they're robbing you blind.
They're giving tax cuts out to billionaires. They don't want you notice that; "Look, look, look, over there." They're sabotaging your health care; "Wait, look, look." They're letting big polluters rewrite our laws to keep our air and water clean; "Ignore that. Look, look, over there."
It's like a con where a door-to-door salesman tries to sell you a security system, while his buddy sneaks in the back and takes all your stuff. It's like "Home Alone," you don't remember that movie? Joe Pesci's sidekick, he's trying to sneak in the doggie door. I guess you're too young for that.
But - but - but you know what? There's a more important point here. When words stop meaning anything, when people can just make up anything, Democracy doesn't work, society can't work.
If you can say anything and there are no consequences if it turns out what you're saying is not true, well, how are we going to have any kind of accountability? And frankly, part of the problem is that we've gotten used to it; we just expect that, like, people just are going to just make stuff up. We just expect it.
And part of the problem, frankly, is, is that a big portion of the media, right now, are used to it, and a part of them just repeat the lies over and over again. I mean I promise you, Fox News will not tell you that - what the Republicans are saying about pre-existing conditions aren't true.