President Obama in his very 'Obama way' castigated Donald Trump, Republican leaders, and Republican voters without raising his voice. He questioned their patriotism without uttering the word.
President Obama's Last Press Conference
President Obama did not mince words, however, civil in the manner in which he pointed out the flaws in the current Republican orthodoxy.
"The Russians can't change us or significantly weaken us," said President Obama. They are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. They don't innovate."
The President pointed out that Americans turning on each other gives the Russians the ability to do so. In other words, we provide the catalyst for an external force to influence us. It was a slight an indirect slight on Donald Trump.
"They can impact us if we lose track of who we are," the President continued. "They can impact us if we abandon our values. Mr. Putin can weaken us just like he's trying to weaken Europe if we start buying into notions that it's OK to intimidate the press, or lock up dissidents, or discriminate against people because of their faith or what they look like.
President Obama then castigated the Republicans.
"And what I worry about, more than anything, is the degree to which because of the fierceness because of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the Republican Party and Republican voters suddenly finding a government and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being OK, because that's how much we dislike Democrats," said President Obama. "I mean, think about it. Some of the people who historically have been very critical of me for engaging with the Russians and having conversations with them, also endorsed the president-elect, even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning Russia and being tough on them and work together with them against our common enemies. It was very complimentary of Mr. Putin personally. Now that, that wasn't news. The president-elect during the campaign said so. And some folks who had made a career out of being anti-Russian, didn't say anything about it. And then after the election, suddenly they're asking, oh, why didn't you tell us that maybe the Russians were trying to help our candidate? Well, come on.
The President then scolded the Republican voter.
"There was a survey some of you saw where -- not this just one poll, but pretty credible source, 37 percent of Republican voters approve of Putin," Obama said. "Over a third of Republican voters approve of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB. Ronald Reagan would roll over in his grave. And how did that happen? It happened in part because for too long, everything that happens in this town, everything that's said is seen through the lens of does this help or hurt us relative to Democrats or relative to President Obama. And unless that changes, we're going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we've lost track of what it is that we're about and what we stand for."