WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama fiercely rejected Donald Trump’s depiction of an America in crisis on Friday, arguing that violent crime and illegal immigration have plunged under his leadership to their lowest rates in decades.
Looking toward November’s election, Obama said, “We’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact.”
At a news conference alongside Mexico’s president, Obama sought to undermine two pillars of Trump’s speech Thursday night in which he accepted the Republican presidential nomination. Trump said that if he is elected, “safety will be restored” at home and abroad.
“This idea that American is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people,” Obama told reporters.
The violent crime rate, he said, has been lower during his presidency than any time in the last three or four decades. While he acknowledged an uptick in murders in some U.S. cities this year, Obama said the violent crime rate today was still far lower than when Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s.
Obama used the same marker for immigration, describing today’s rate of illegal border crossing as only a third of what it was during the Reagan administration, and lower than any time since.
Speaking after an evening when Trump laid out his case to be the next commander in chief, Obama grimaced noticeably when a reporter suggested the billionaire businessman’s message appeals to working-class Americans.
“It’s not really clear how appealing it was,” Obama said.
Obama said he will let the U.S. public decide if the vision of Republicans or Democrats for the nation is more persuasive. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s 2008 primary rival and then his secretary of state, will receive the Democratic nomination next week. She is expected to announce her running mate soon.
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