President Barack Obama took some shots at Donald Trump’s business acumen and “America first” economic policies in a Bloomberg Businessweek interview published Thursday.
“There’s no successful businessman in America who actually thinks the most successful businessman in the country is Donald Trump,” Obama said. “I know those guys, and so do you, and I guarantee you, that’s not their view.”
The President also cautioned against the presumptive GOP nominee’s ardent opposition to globalization, arguing that Trump’s isolationist, anti-immigrant outlook unfairly romanticizes America’s economic history.
“I think that the temptation in that circumstance is to resort to nativism and nostalgia and the sense that these are things that are now out of control and I want to take control back,” Obama told Bloomberg, referring to the failure of free trade deals to adequately protect low-wage and middle-class workers.
“And that can be true on the Left; it can be true on the Right,” he continued. “But I continue to believe that the majority of people, whether in the United States, in Europe, or certainly in rapidly advancing parts of the world like Asia—those folks recognize that the world has shrunk, and that if the rules are structured properly, this gives them more opportunity, not less, to succeed.”
In a Wednesday speech lambasting Hillary Clinton, Trump argued that Democrats helped move the U.S. from a policy of “Americanism” to one of “globalism.”
“We need to reform our economic system so that, once again, we can all succeed together, and America can become rich again,” he said at an event at the Trump SoHo hotel. “That’s what we mean by America First.”
Obama suggested that this backwards-looking view ignored the inequities in who had access to America’s post-World War II economic boom.
“I always tell interns and young people who I talk to that as tough as things seem right now, do not believe people when they tell you they wish they could go back to the good old days,” he said. “Because the good old days aren’t—I’m now old enough where I remember some of those good old days.”