Obama reassures Democrats: Trump will not succeed me
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Obama reassures Democrats: Trump will not succeed me

On California fundraising drive, president praises his party’s sense of responsibility, as opposed to politicians from ‘the other side’

President Barack Obama smiles as he greets supporters after arriving on Air Force One at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Friday, April 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
President Barack Obama smiles as he greets supporters after arriving on Air Force One at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Friday, April 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump will not be the next inhabitant of the White House, US President Barack Obama told Democrats at a California fundraiser, sounding a note of confidence echoed in a poll published Friday that showed the GOP candidate’s widespread unpopularity with Americans. Trump has alienated large numbers of women, Hispanics and others with his biting rhetoric and issue positions, but he remains the Republican front-runner.

“I recognize that there is a deep obsession right now about Mr. Trump,” Obama told the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event in Santa Monica on Thursday evening, Politico reported. “And one of you pulled me aside and squeezed me hard and said, ‘Tell me that Mr. Trump is not succeeding you.’ And I said, ‘Mr. Trump is not succeeding me.'”

The president was in California for a two-day fundraising swing through Los Angeles and San Francisco, in which he praised Democrats as more willing to make tough choices and criticized Republicans as afraid to do anything, including vote on his Supreme Court nominee.

He also said that the rhetoric from Trump and his sole viable rival for the Republican nomination, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, has illustrated “some of the nonsense that we’ve been dealing with in Congress on a daily basis.”

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, participates in a town hall Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Rothschild, Wis. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, participates in a town hall Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Rothschild, Wis. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“People act as if these folks are outliers. But they’re not,” he said, citing comments from Republicans in public forums. “They’re saying stuff that’s just as wacky as what we’re hearing out of the presidential candidates. It’s just nobody was paying attention.”

Speaking at a separate fundraiser in the Bel Air home of Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, Obama lauded House Democrats for casting difficult votes “because we understood we had a certain responsibility to get things done.”

“And that’s what we have not seen from the other side,” Obama told about 100 people at the event, among them Hollywood stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow.

“And that’s why this election is so important,” Obama said.

The president criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to consider his nomination of federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Democrats have a good chance to add at least a handful of House seats come November. The number could grow if Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. But to regain control of the 435-seat chamber, Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, which would be an uphill climb.

Friday brought three more events, including a roundtable for Senate Democratic candidates at the Brentwood home of former “Spiderman” actor Tobey Maguire that was closed to news media coverage. Tickets cost $33,400, officials said.

Obama also attended a closed Democratic Party event later Friday at the San Francisco home of activists Steve Phillips and Susan Sandler. Afterward, he was rejoining former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi there in her congressional district for her annual gala for House Democrats. That event was being held at the home of businessman and philanthropist Gordon Getty. Tickets were also $33,400 per couple.

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