Barack Obama said Thursday that he has “not contributed to” dividing the country.
Blame for that, he said, lies at the feet of Republicans and Obama-critical media outlets.
During a White House press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, Obama said, “I’ve said at the State of the Union that one of my regrets is the degree to which polarization and the nasty tone of our politics has accelerated rather than waned over the course of the last 7 1/2 years.”
“I do all kinds of soul searching in terms of, are there things that I can do better to make sure that we are unifying the country. But I also have to say… that objectively it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets, social media and news stations, talk radio, television stations have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed, that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal, that maximalist, absolutist positions on issues are politically advantageous, that there is a ‘them’ out there and an ‘us’ and ‘them’ are the folks who are causing whatever the problems you’re experiencing and the tone of that politics, which I certainly have not contributed to,” Obama claimed.“You know, I don’t think that I was the one to prompt questions about my birth certificate, for example. I don’t remember saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you ask me about that?’ ‘Why don’t you question whether I’m American or whether I’m loyal or whether I have America’s best interests at heart.’ Those aren’t things that were prompted by any actions of mine, and so what you’re seeing within the Republican Party is, to some degree, all of those efforts over a course of time creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive.” (RELATED: ‘Morning Joe’ Hosts Blast Hillary Clinton For Starting Rumors That Obama Is A Muslim [VIDEO])