Barack Obama has finally said what he really thinks of Donald Trump

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Wednesday 15 June 2016 13:00
Picture: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Donald Trump actually managed a new low in the wake of the Orlando shootings, seizing on the deaths of 49 people by making the tragedy about him:

He also took to Fox News (where else?) on Monday to chastise president Barack Obama for not calling the attack the result of 'radical Islamic terrorism'.

Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind.

And the something else in mind - you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.

He even went as far as to demand Potus resign.

Obama, for his part, has been careful to stay out of most of the mud slinging in the election build up so far, and not criticise Trump by name.

But in a live address after a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday about the ongoing fight against extremism, the president slammed the Republican presidential nominee's mindset as "dangerous":

And let me make a final point. For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against [Isis] is to criticise the administration and me for not using the phrase 'radical Islam.' That’s the key, they tell us. We cannot beat [Isis] unless we call them radical Islamists.

What exactly would using this label would accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make [Isis] less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?

The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.

[The thousands of people around the country and around world who are working to defeat Isis] know who the nature of the enemy is. So, there is no magic to the phrase 'radical Islam'. It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.

Setting up an 'us versus them' narrative to make it seem as though Islam and Western ideals are incompatible is exactly what terrorists want, Obama went on to say.

And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism.

Groups like [Isis] and al-Qaeda want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion of Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions.

They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda, that’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.

And Trump's proposed ban on Muslims, the president argued, suggests "entire religious communities are complacent in violence... It makes Muslim-Americans feel like their government is betraying them. It betrays the very values America stands for."

Now, up until this point, this argument of labels has mostly just been partisan rhetoric, and sadly, we have all become accustomed to that kind of partisanship, even when it involves the fight against these extremist groups.

That kind of yapping has not prevented folks across the government from doing their jobs, from sacrificing and working really hard to protect the American people.

But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind set and this kind of thinking can be. We are starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we are fighting, where this can lead us.

Watch Obama's angry speech in full below:

More: The 3 words Donald Trump said that made the Orlando shooting even worse

More: John Oliver: 'Donald Trump’s tweets are like Tom Cruise - short, unhinged and you can’t look away'