Speaking at a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada on Tuesday, President Obama rejected media descriptions of Donald Trump as a populist.
“I care about people, and I wanna make sure every kind in America has the same opportunities that I had,” said Obama, guarding his populist bona fides. “I care about poor people who are working really hard and don’t have a chance to advance. And I care about workers being able to have a collective voice in the workplace and get their fair share of the pie.”
“People like me,” said Obama about wealthier persons, “should pay a little bit more” in taxes to assist poorer families as if America’s tax system is not graduated.
“I suppose that makes me a populist,” said Obama, presenting himself as a guardian of disadvantaged persons.
“Somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers,” said Obama, refusing to utter the name of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, “[doesn’t] suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That’s not the measure of populism. That’s nativism. Or xenophobia. Or worse. Or it’s just cynicism.
I would just advise everybody, be careful about suddenly attributing to whoever pops up at a time of economic anxiety the label that they’re a populist. Where have they been? Have they been on the front lines working on behalf of working people? Have they been carrying the laboring and ordinary to open up opportunity for more people?
Lifelong neo-Marxist politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), said Obama, “deserve the title” of being described as a populist.
"Let's just be clear, somebody who labels us versus them, or engages in rhetoric about how we're going to look after ourselves and take it to the other guy," concluded Obama,"that's not the definition of populism. Sorry."
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