Speaking at a Wednesday rally for Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama condemned the normalization of Donald Trump’s extreme rhetoric and emphasized the stakes at play on Election Day, which is now less than a week away.
“I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the republic rests on your shoulders,” Obama said at a rally at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “The fate of the world is teetering and you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure that we push it in the right direction.”
He told voters to push away the “noise” of campaign commercials and rapid-fire news coverage, saying that the choice between Trump and Clinton “could not be simpler.”
Obama cited Trump’s behavior towards women, Muslims and people with disabilities, and said that being elected president would not change Trump’s personality.
“This office, it’s about who you are and what you are and it doesn’t change after you occupy the office,” Obama said. “It just magnifies it.”
He also went after Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for saying that there is no “separation” between himself and Trump, calling it a “troubling” position to take.
“Lately he’s been mimicking Donald Trump,” Obama said. “Last week he actually joked about violence against Hillary. That’s not something we do.”
In a recording obtained by CNN, Burr told a private gathering of supporters that he was surprised by a gun magazine that depicted Clinton on its cover without a target on her face.
Burr, who faces a competitive re-election race, later apologized and called his comment “inappropriate.”
“You don’t talk about violence against public officials even in a joke,” Obama said. “And I want to acknowledge, he apologized, but the problem is this is becoming normal.”
He condemned Republican officials for throwing the “red meat” of such extreme rhetoric to their audiences, as well as for their plans to obstruct Clinton’s administration if she is elected.
“That’s not how democracy works and not what your parents taught you,” Obama said. “We teach even our little kids in the sand box to all share and cooperate and don’t hit each other.”
“She hasn’t even been elected yet!” Obama objected.
“Gridlock is not some mysterious fog that just kind of descends on Washington. It’s not like some apparition that shows up,” he said. “Gridlock is what happens when Republican politicians like Richard Burr decide not based on the merits, not based on what’s good for their constituents, but based on political calculation that they are going to oppose anything that is good for the country just because a Democrat proposes it.”