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Obama calls Trump ‘racist, nativist and sexist’ at private campaign event, report says

Former president has reportedly been hosting conversations over Zoom to raise funds for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign

James Crump
Friday 31 July 2020 07:50 BST
Obama says African Americans still facing severe hurdles at John Lewis' funeral

Former US president Barack Obama has reportedly criticised Donald Trump for his “nativist, racist, sexist” rhetoric in fundraising calls for Joe Biden‘s presidential campaign.

Over the last month, Mr Obama has been hosting conversations with figures such as Illinois governor JB Pritzker and the actor George Clooney on Zoom calls with potential donors to the presumptive Democratic nominee’s presidential campaign, according to The New York Times.

They reported that during his conversation with Mr Pritzker, the former president criticised Mr Trump and told potential donors that his supporters “filter out any contradictory information” to their beliefs.

Sources close to Mr Obama quoted him as saying: “It’s just glued to Fox News and Breitbart and Limbaugh and just this conservative echo chamber — and so, they’re going to turn out to vote.

“What he has unleashed and what he continues to try to tap into is the fears and anger and resentment of people who, in some cases, really are having a tough time and have seen their prospects, or communities where they left, declining.

“And Trump tries to tap into that and redirect in nativist, racist, sexist ways.”

Mr Obama’s Zoom calls have raised over $24m (£18.3m) for Mr Biden’s campaign so far, as he is charging $250,000 (£190,962) per person each call, according to MarketWatch.

He hosted a sold out session with Clooney last week, where the former president reportedly said Mr Trump’s false claims about the legitimacy of mail-in voting keeps him up at night.

Mr Trump has repeatedly spoken publicly against people being able to vote by mail in this year’s presidential election and has claimed without evidence that it will cause a large increase in voter fraud.

In May, the president falsely claimed that mail-in voting will enable “thousands of forgeries,” despite voting by mail in Florida himself in March for the Republican primary.

Last month, in another virtual fundraiser for Mr Biden, the former president accused Mr Trump of “actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment”.

He added: “I don’t want that. That still shocks and p***es me off.”

Mr Trump, alongside other Republicans, has repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as “kung flu,” or “Wuhan flu,” and both phrases have been criticised for blaming the virus on a single country and group of people.

Mr Biden was Mr Obama’s vice president for eight years between 2009 and 2017, and in the call with Clooney the former president reportedly outlined why the donors should vote for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“We have a worthy candidate and we have a worthy platform,” he said, according to the Times. “But you know what, let’s not be so sophisticated that we are constantly finding reasons why this isn’t good enough or the candidate’s not doing this or the campaign seems to not be getting that quite right.”

Speaking about Mr Trump, he added: “We already saw this guy win once. After he bragged about physically assaulting women — and that didn’t seem to matter. So, enough said. Let’s get to work.”

The Independent has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

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