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Obama: Trump an Elite, Not a Representative of Working Class

Image: Obama: Trump an Elite, Not a Representative of Working Class
President Barack Obama (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Jun 2016 03:45 PM

President Barack Obama dismissed speculation that Great Britain's vote last week to leave the European Union would give a boost to Donald Trump, telling National Public Radio that even if the UK decision was fueled by populist anger, the presumptive Republican nominee was hardly the person to represent that sentiment.

"Mr. Trump embodies global elites and has taken full advantage of it his entire life," the president said. "So, he's hardly a spokesperson, a legitimate spokesperson, for a populist surge of working-class people on either side of the Atlantic."

Obama did, however, say that xenophobia and nationalistic sentiments played a part in the UK's decision to leave the EU, adding that Trump was trying to inflame those tensions.

"There's a xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment that's flashing up not just in Great Britain but throughout Europe that has some parallels with what Mr. Trump has been trying to stir up here," said the president, who wanted Great Britain to stay in the EU.

But Obama said the repercussions from the vote should not be exaggerated, despite the sharp fall in stock markets internationally since the surprise decision.

"I think that the best way to think about this is, a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration," Obama said. "I would not overstate it. There's been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote, as if somehow NATO's gone, the Transatlantic alliance is dissolving, and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That's not what's happening."

Obama said the vote was mainly a reaction to a rapidly growing EU "that was probably moving faster and without as much consensus as it should have."

"I think this will be a moment when all of Europe says, 'Let's take a breath and let's figure out how do we maintain some of our national identities, how do we preserve the benefits of integration, and how do we deal with some of the frustrations that our own voters are feeling.'"

The president said he doesn't "anticipate that there is going to be major cataclysmic changes as a consequence of this."

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President Barack Obama dismissed speculation that Great Britain's vote last week to leave the European Union would give a boost to Donald Trump, telling National Public Radio that even if the UK decision was fueled by populist anger, the presumptive Republican nominee was...
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Tuesday, 28 Jun 2016 03:45 PM
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