Obama’s dishonest assessment of the GOP presidential race

Today at his press conference, President Obama was asked about the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. His response could hardly have been more dishonest.

Echoing a favorite talking point of Hillary Clinton and the DNC, Obama asserted that Donald Trump merely expresses in “more interesting ways” the views of the GOP field as a whole. This is untrue.

To my knowledge, no other Republican candidate proposes a ban on Muslim entry to the U.S. To my knowledge, no other Republican proposes systematically rounding up and deporting every illegal immigrant in the U.S.

No other Republican says that the federal government should make sure every American has health insurance. No other Republican speaks favorably of Vladimir Putin. No other Republican speaks unfavorably of George W. Bush.

How did Obama support his claim that the Republican field mirrors Donald Trump in substance? He claimed that, like Trump, the other candidates express “anti-Muslim sentiment.” But Obama cited no examples, and I am not aware of any.

Perhaps Obama had in mind the fact that GOP candidates don’t favor letting Syrian refugees into the U.S. at this time. But that’s not an anti-Muslim sentiment; it’s an expression of concern about the fact, acknowledged by the administration, that we have no good way of identifying which Syrian refugees have ties to terrorists.

It is intellectually dishonest for Obama to equate this concern with “anti-Muslim sentiment.”

Obama also claimed that the rest of the GOP field expresses “strong anti-immigrant sentiment.” As evidence, he cited the fact that “one candidate” (Marco Rubio) sponsored a bill Obama supported on illegal immigration, but now is running away from it.

Obama knows a thing or two about political flip-flopping (see, e.g., marriage, same-sex). But Rubio’s reversal on illegal immigration is not evidence of “anti-immigrant sentiment.” Rubio proposes to get the border under control and then consider what to do on behalf of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

To characterize this view as “anti-immigrant” is dishonest. Rubio proposes nothing that would change the status of illegal immigrants for the worse and holds out the possibility of changing it for the better.

In any event, Rubio’s position is not Trump’s position stated less interestingly.

Finally, Obama said that all of the Republican candidates “are denying climate change.” This turns out to be false as well. Some candidates do not accept “the science” on climate change as settled; others (basically half of them) do, but reject the left’s prescription for dealing with the problem.

Obama is lying about this. Is anyone surprised?

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