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Obama Says Trump Takes Advantage Of American Anxieties


Over the last few days, the Democratic candidates for president have not stopped talking about Donald Trump. Even the country's top Democrat had a go at him. NPR's Sam Sanders has been tracking all of the trumping.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: NPR's Steve Inskeep just had a long, wide-ranging interview with President Barack Obama. At one point, Inskeep gave a laundry list of all the issues facing the country.


STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: Gay marriage, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, the question of whether to admit Syrian refugees into the country, the question of whether to admit Muslims into the country - all of them, in some sense, touch on that question of who we are.

SANDERS: Inskeep asked why that comes up now. The president said that question of who we are - it's, quote, "at the center of the American experience." But Obama also said, demographic changes combined with economic stress, it's all been especially hard on blue-collar men.


BARACK OBAMA: They're no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory, able to support their families on a single paycheck.

SANDERS: He continues.


OBAMA: You combine those things, and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear, some of it justified but just misdirected. And you know, I think somebody like Mr. Trump's taking advantage of that. I mean, that's what he's exploiting during the course of his campaign.

SANDERS: The president of the United States saying Trump is running on and exploiting fear. Well, he's not alone. The Democratic candidates for president debated this weekend. Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley didn't actually say Trump's name, but he said Americans should never give up their values and freedoms to this guy.


O'MALLEY: Let's never surrender them to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.

SANDERS: Bernie Sanders went even further Sunday on ABC.


SANDERS: I think that Donald Trump is a pathological liar.

SANDERS: But Hillary Clinton ended up getting the most attention when she said this Saturday night.


HILLARY CLINTON: He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.

SANDERS: There's currently no evidence and such videos exist. And Donald Trump hit back on the "Today" show with Matt Lauer.


DONALD TRUMP: I will demand an apology from Hillary. She should apologize. She lies about emails. She lies about Whitewater. She lies about everything. She will be a disaster as president of the United States.

MATT LAUER: I will deliver that message. I promise you.

SANDERS: See what he did there? He just brought up that decades-old banking controversy. And just like that, Donald Trump may have opened another chapter in another fight. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.