President Barack Obama does not appear to be a fan of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan.
At a Wednesday roundtable among business leaders, Obama took a shot at the Republican front-runner by insisting America is already “great.”
“Despite the perennial doom-and-gloom that I guess is inevitably part of a presidential campaign, America is winning right now. America is great right now,” Obama said.
Trump has based much of his campaign around the slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
The real-estate mogul frequently wears various baseball hats bearing those words. He also peppers almost every campaign speech with vows to make the country great again.
But Obama, speaking Wednesday, broadly panned the unnamed presidential candidates who lament about the state of the country.
“You wouldn’t know any of this if you were listening to the folks who are seeking this office that I occupy,” Obama said after praising the US’ economic recovery since the 2008 stock market crash.
“In the echo chamber that is presidential politics, everything is dark and everything is terrible,” he added. “They don’t seem to offer many solutions for the disasters that they perceive. But they’re quick to tell you who to blame. I’m here to say that there is nothing particularly patriotic or American about talking down America.”
Obama did have some similarly vague praise for one aspect of Trump’s campaign, however.
The president wants to end the so-called “carried-interest loophole” in the US tax code, which benefits private equity and hedge funds. He noted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) recently proposed raising taxes on carried interest, while Trump has lamented that hedge fund managers are “getting away with murder.“
“You’ve got two leading candidates on the Republican side who have said that we should eliminate the carried-interest loophole. Now, there’s disagreement in this room around that,” Obama told business leaders Wednesday.
“But I will tell you,” he continued, “that keeping this tax loophole — which leads to folks who are doing very well paying lower rates than their secretaries — is not in any demonstrable way improving our economy.”
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