Real estate magnate, reality television star, billionaire and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump fired back at President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the mainstream media and everyone engaged in the latest round of inaccurate smears against him in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it sends a very bad signal to the people that he’s in front of,” Trump said when asked to respond to Obama’s attack against him and other GOP candidates in a press conference in Ethiopia.
These countries must be saying what’s going on over there? He’s over Africa and he’s talking about Trump. I think it sends a very weak and a very bad signal to the people he’s trying to impress and I think he would be much better off if he would focus on just straightening out that horrible nuclear deal with Iran that’s just been made rather than wasting his time talking about me.
Obama’s comments about Trump came in remarks the president made at a press conference in response to a question about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee—another 2016 GOP presidential candidate—saying in an interview on Breitbart News Saturday on Sirius XM Patriot that Obama’s deal with Iran was akin to marching Israelis to “the door of the oven,” a reference to the Holocaust. Obama also attacked Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) for arguing, respectively, that the deal makes Obama’s administration the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and comparing Secretary of State John Kerry to Pontius Pilate.
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general pattern that we’ve seen that is — would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” Obama said in the news conference appearing alongside Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
We’ve had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for President suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party. And part of what historically has made America great is, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, there’s been a recognition that these issues are too serious, that issues of war and peace are of such grave concern and consequence that we don’t play fast and loose that way. We have robust debates, we look at the facts, there are going to be disagreements. But we just don’t fling out ad hominem attacks like that, because it doesn’t help inform the American people.
Obama continued by suggesting that Huckabee, Cruz and Cotton are aiming to take media attention away from Trump—who’s dominated almost every news cycle since announcing his presidential campaign—rather than engage in a serious discussion. In that part of his remarks, Obama attacked Trump for his criticisms last weekend of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)—and ripped new media, online and talk radio, for covering the news of these different developments.
“When you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now,” Obama said.
And I don’t think that’s what anybody — Democratic, Republican, or independent — is looking for out of their political leaders. In fact, it’s been interesting when you look at what’s happened with Mr. Trump, when he’s made some of the remarks that, for example, challenged the heroism of Mr. McCain, somebody who endured torture and conducted himself with exemplary patriotism, the Republican Party is shocked. And yet, that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks have become far too commonplace and get circulated nonstop through the Internet and talk radio and news outlets. And I recognize when outrageous statements like that are made about me, that a lot of the same people who were outraged when they were made about Mr. McCain were pretty quiet.
Huckabee, Trump, Cruz and Cotton have all remained steadfast in their criticisms and haven’t backed down.
Shifting gears in this latest interview, when asked about recent reports that two separate Inspectors General want a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server—and potential classified information that may have been compromised on it—Trump said that what Clinton did is “criminal” and warrants such an investigation.
“This is not a civil investigation,” Trump told Breitbart News.
This has to be a criminal investigation. What she did is absolutely criminal—there’s no question about it. She got rid of the server. She destroyed emails. And in some cases they destroyed them after getting the subpoena from the United States Congress. Gen. [David] Petraeus’ life was ruined for doing far less. If you look at what Gen. Petraeus did, it’s far less. The magnitude, the gravity, was far less than what Hillary Clinton did. They have no choice but to make this a criminal matter, and you could almost say it’s an open and shut criminal matter.
Two Inspectors General—independent investigators—have referred the matter to the Department of Justice, Time Magazine confirmed late last week.
“Federal officials have requested an investigation into a potential compromise of classified information related to the handling of documents once stored on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server, government officials confirmed Friday,” Time’s Zeke Miller wrote.
Clinton and her current and former aides have not been named as targets of the investigation, and the scope of the investigation request has not been revealed. A Department of Justice official confirmed to TIME Friday morning that there had been a “criminal referral.” Later that same day, the official sent an updated statement: “The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral,” it read.
Clinton has denied any wrongdoing on the campaign trail, and argues that no classified information was compromised during her use of a home brew private email account and server set-up.
“I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time,” Clinton said this weekend at a campaign stop in Iowa in response to the Inspectors General revelations the day before.
The last part of Trump’s latest exclusive interview with Breitbart News focused on what’s amounted to another round of false smear attacks aimed at Trump, spearheaded by The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak and Brandy Zadrozny. Late Monday, Mak and Zadrozny printed a 30-year-old, untrue story about Trump from divorce proceedings with Trump’s first wife Ivana Trump. The story argued that Ivana accused Donald of “rape” while they were married, but didn’t add any new information—and then on Tuesday, Ivana came out and debunked the entire article calling the story “totally without merit.”
“Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president,” Ivana Trump added.
When asked to respond to this, Donald Trump told Breitbart News that politics is a “vicious business” and he’s learning just how much people will lie to try to take him down.
“It’s a vicious business, and I’ve always heard if you’re a very successful person you can’t run for political office especially for president and I now understand why,” Donald Trump told Breitbart News.
As an example, the whole thing brought up with Ivana was such a lie—such a total lie—never happened. And I’m really grateful that Ivana, without any prompting from anybody, issued the most beautiful statement so I have great respect for her for doing that. And in fact, she said I think he would make an incredible president. So for her to do that, I have such great respect because that kills it—that nips it in the bud before it even starts. But even before her statement was issued, people were amazing the way they came to my defense. This was something that never happened, people know it never happened, the press knew it never happened. People were saying this is horrible that the press is allowed to get away with it and in this case it’s a third rate website that’s losing a lot of money where everyone was fired. It’s just a third rate, terrible website, and it’s just shame that they’re allowed to do this kind of stuff. But I have great respect for Ivana for stepping up and without even discussing it [with me or anyone] saying she read this and it’s just ridiculous and she ended it right then and there. That was a terrific thing that she did.
Trump added that he expects the mainstream media and entire political class to continue to be vicious towards him, but that the people across America can see the truth and that all of their actions will continue to backfire as he keeps shooting up in the polls.
“They’ve been totally vicious—I’ve expected it, but maybe not to this extent,” Trump said.
But I expected a certain amount of it, but I guess for whatever reason, I have a very simple theme to what I’m doing: That theme is “Make America Great Again.” You would think whether you’re Democrat, liberal, Republican, conservative, you would think that you would love your country and that’s what you want. You would think that we’re all going for the same thing. But my theme and my whole concept of what I’m doing is to make our country great again. It’s so shocking to me that some people don’t want that happen. They don’t seem to want it to happen. You would think they love our country. But what is wrong with people who want to put our country first? That’s what I’m doing: I’m putting our country first. It’s something that is not an easy thing to do. I’m so honored by all of the polls.
After ticking off a litany of recent polls that show he’s the clear, far-and-away GOP frontrunner in 2016, Trump told Breitbart News he really appreciates everything everyone across America and in early presidential primary and caucus states is doing to help him out.
“The people in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—they’ve been incredible,” Trump said.
And they’re incredible people, and they really understand the press far better than the press understands themselves. That’s what I love: To watch vicious lies being written, but then the people fully get it and you come out and go up in the polls instead of going down. I don’t need to do this. I’m doing this and a lot of people say ‘why are you doing this? You have this great life, great company and a wonderful family.’ I’m doing it to make America great again and the people understand that.