Come on, man. NBC’s Matt Lauer catches up with Barack Obama before his final State of the Union address in this exclusive for Today, and finds the President in a reflective mood. When it comes to Donald Trump, Obama says he’ll believe it’s a serious campaign when Trump wins, but it’s his dismissal of anger and fear among voters that is most ironic. The man who sold ObamaCare in part on hysterics over doctors who amputate rather than treat diabetes and who conduct tonsillectomies only to enrich themselves now wants to wag his finger at “scapegoating” and “simplistic solutions.”
“The message that Donald Trump’s putting out has had adherence a lot of times during the course of our history. You know, talk to me if he wins. Then we’ll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it,” he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview less than a week after making an emotional speech on gun control efforts.
“But I’m pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn’t try to divide, that isn’t looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating but looks for us buckling down and figuring out, ‘How do we make things work for the next generation.'”
Even more ironically, this is coming from the same President who wants to make gun control the major theme of his final year in office, even though gun violence has been declining for more than a decade. Talk about scapegoating: Obama spends most of his time deriding gun shows where law-abiding citizens can meet and share their passion for self-defense and hunting when most firearms used in crimes are stolen rather than purchased. In fact, just last week Obama claimed that gun crime in Chicago — where both the city and the state have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation — is primarily caused by “vans” of guns coming from gun shows in Indiana:
THE PRESIDENT: No, but this is what happens. Let’s go back to the city of Chicago that has strong gun control laws. And oftentimes the NRA will point to that as an example and say, see, these things don’t work. Well, the problem is, is that about 30, 40 percent of those guns are coming from Indiana, across the border, where there are much laxer laws. And so folks will go to a gun show and purchase a whole bunch of firearms, put them in a van, drive up into Mike Pfleger’s neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where his parish is, open up the trunk, and those things are for sale. …
So if somebody is a straw purchaser — and what that means is they don’t intend the guns for themselves, they intend to resell them to somebody else — they go to a gun show in Indiana, where right now they don’t have to do a background check, load up a van, and open up that van and sell them to kids in gangs in Chicago — if now that person has to go through a background check, they’ve got to register, ATF has the capacity then to find out if and when a gun is used in a crime in Chicago where that gun had come from. And now you know here’s somebody who seems to be willing to sell a gun to a 15-year-old who had a known record.
Chicago has lots of problems all on its own without any help from Indiana. Chief among them is a political machine that has locked in corruption and incompetence, both of which Rahm Emanuel’s administration has amply demonstrated in the past few months, while leaving its law-abiding citizens disarmed and unable to defend themselves properly.
If this was truly Indiana’s fault because of their lax gun laws, then why doesn’t Indiana suffer from the same level of gun violence? Why does Indiana have twice the rate of gun ownership as Illinois (39.1% to 20.2% in 2010) but a lower rate of gun murders (2.2/100K to 2.8/100K)? Vermont, which has almost no restrictions on firearms, only had a 0.3/100K gun-murder rate in 2010. And gun violence has declined every single year across the nation since then, too.
Perhaps Obama objects to scapegoating and simplistic solutions as a form of trademark infringement.