President Barack Obama blasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at an event in Washington D.C. Saturday night, claiming the Manhattan billionaire had “missed” the lesson of the legacy of slavery and segregation in America.
Speaking in front of a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Obama and his former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called upon African Americans to make sure they have a large turnout for this November’s election, warning that a Trump White House would “drag us backwards,” as Mrs. Clinton said.
In making his appeal to black voters, Obama said he would be personally insulted if African American voters did not reach the same record turnout numbers this year as they did in the past two election cycles, aiding his election in 2008 and reelection in 2012.
"I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election," Obama told the audience.
While African Americans have remained lukewarm on former First Lady Clinton, support for President Obama remains high among the community.
With Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers in steep decline over the past week, the campaign and Clinton allies have looked to bolster minority turnout.
Clinton hammered Trump this weekend over this past support for “birtherism” – claims that President Obama was not born in Hawaii, as his birth record indicates, but in Kenya.
Surrogates of Mrs. Clinton helped spread the rumor during the bitter 2008 Democratic primary, though Mrs. Clinton herself never openly endorsed such claims. Mr. Trump later pledged to investigate those assertions, leading a so-called “birther” movement the Congressional Black Caucus called an attempt to delegitimize America’s first black president.
Despite Trump’s clear affirmation of President Obama’s American birth this weekend, the Clinton campaign has sought to play up issues of race to increase turnout among minorities.
President Obama referenced both slavery and segregation while discussing Trump, claiming “he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery and Jim Crow."
“We will educate him," Obama added.
Clinton was even more explicit in her appeal to racial issues, warning a Trump presidency would be “dangerous and divisive,” and based upon “prejudice and paranoia.”
"We need ideas not insults,” said Clinton, “real plans to help struggling Americans in communities that have been left out and left behind, not prejudice and paranoia. We can't let Barack Obama's legacy fall into the hands of someone who doesn't understand that, whose dangerous and divisive vision for our country will drag us backwards.”