WASHINGTON — President Obama said he hoped America emerged from Donald Trump’s “vision of violence and chaos everywhere” to appreciate birds chirping the morning after.
Obama told reporters at the White House today that he didn’t watch the Republican National Convention as he’s “got a lot of stuff to do.”
“But I did read some of what was said, and the one thing that I think is important to recognize is this idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people,” he said.
“I hope people the next morning walked outside and birds were chirping and the sun was out, and this afternoon, people will be watching their kids play in sports teams and go to the swimming pool and folks are going to work and getting ready for the weekend.”
Obama added that “some of the fears that were expressed throughout the week just don’t jive with the facts.”
“When it comes to crime, the violent crime rate in America has been lower during my presidency than anytime in the last three, four decades. And although it is true that we’ve seen an uptick in murders and violent crime in some cities this year, the fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today is far lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president and lower than when I took office,” he said.
“We’ve just gone through a tragic period where we saw both tragedy in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and then the insanity and the viciousness of people targeting police officers. And we are all heart broken by that and we’re all troubled by how we can rebuild trust, support law enforcement and make sure the communities feel that they are being fairly policed. But the fact is that the rate of intentional killings of police officers is also significantly lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. Those are facts. That’s the data.”
The president emphasized “we’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact.”
“And that, I think, is something that I hope all Americans pay attention to,” he added.
Asked about polls that show about two-thirds of Americans thinking the country is on the wrong track, Obama replied: “I don’t know, 20, 30 years, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a year in which the majority of Americans thought we were on the right track. Maybe because all the good things that are happening in America don’t get reported on a lot.”
Obama was hosting Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who extended his “greatest respect, my deepest respect” to Hillary Clinton and Trump and proposed “going into a frank, open dialogue with whomever is elected on the relationship between our two nations.”
“Undoubtedly, for Mexico, it is very important for the United States to do well and for the United States to have a strong economy. And for the United States it’s also very convenient for the Mexican economy to also do well,” Peña Nieto said.
“Your next madam president or president will find in Mexico a strategic partner to face economic issues that we share, and all the challenges that we share.”
The Mexican leader, who in the past has compared Trump’s rhetoric to Hitler and Mussolini, said his government won’t get involved in the U.S. election. “Any issue, anything that I have said has been taken out of context,” he said.