Former President Obama accused President Trump of engaging in a “political stunt” by pledging to send troops to the border in response to a migrant caravan at a packed Friday evening rally.
The critique came as part of a full-throated attack on his successor that avoided mentioning Trump by name.
Obama poured scorn on the suggestion that “the biggest threat to America — the biggest threat! — is some impoverished refugees a thousand miles away.”
He repeatedly complained about Trump’s propensity to make false claims, drily noting, “I believe in fact-based campaigns.”
Obama also made a broader case against the man who succeeded him in the White House, blaming Trump — implicitly but clearly — for fomenting racial, social and religious tensions.
There had been, Obama said, “incessant, non-stop attempts to divide us with rhetoric that is designed to make us angry and make us fearful…to pit us against one another, to try to make us believe that things would be better if it just weren’t for those who don’t look like us, or don’t pray for us, or don’t love like us.”
His remarks were met with a euphoric reaction from a young, largely black crowd that filled a 6,000-capacity basketball arena at Morehouse College to capacity.
But about 550 miles away, in Indianapolis, Trump was also on the campaign trail, firing up his own base in his own way.
“The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan, and you see we have more caravans forming, don’t you?,” Trump said.
He also claimed Obama doesn’t have any credibility when it comes to promoting a free press.
“Nobody was worse to the press than Obama, nobody,” he told his West Virginia audience.
For the record, Obama never referred to the press as the “enemy of the American people” which Trump has done repeatedly. He also regularly encourages his supporters to shout and chant against the media at his rallies.
“I heard President Obama speak today. I had to listen, I was in the plane. I had nothing else to do,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, at the rally in Georgia, Obama accused Trump of telling “lies” about health care as he spoke at a Florida campaign event.
Trump threw the remark back in his face in Huntington, telling the former president had no business lecturing him on truth-telling after all the ‘lies’ he told about health care reform when he was in office.
Obama came to Atlanta to boost Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who is aiming to become the nation’s first black female governor. Her Republican opponent is Georgia’s secretary of State, Brian Kemp.
The race looks to be one of the tightest major contests in the nation.
Election day is Tuesday.