There was a great moment at President Obama’s Tuesday mini-presser that made news, but the significance of which may have been lost on everyone but me and Fox News reporter Shannon Bream. At what was supposed to just be a statement about the economy, the President took two questions, the last of which allowed him to tear into Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (mostly Trump) with the gusto of Guy Fieri at a nudist pig roast:
I think that I’ve been very clear earlier that I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made. I do have to emphasize that it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals. You’re also hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz’s proposals, which in some ways are just as draconian when it comes to immigration, for example.
The implications with respect to ending remittances — many of which, by the way, are from legal immigrants and from individuals who are sending money back to their families — are enormous. First of all, they’re impractical. We just talked about the difficulties of trying to enforce huge outflows of capital. The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico, good luck with that.
Then we’ve got the issue of the implications for the Mexican economy, which in turn, if it’s collapsing, actually sends more immigrants north because they can’t find jobs back in Mexico. But this is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption.
And as I’ve tried to emphasize throughout, we’ve got serious problems here. We’ve got big issues around the world. People expect the President of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account. They don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House. We can’t afford that.
This certainly isn’t the first time President Obama has launched on Trump, but what’s noteworthy is that he specifically hung around at that podium until he got the question he wanted. He usually doesn’t take any questions in this setting, and when you’ve been covering the President as long as I have, you know when he’s looking for an opening.
As Shannon Bream noted later in the briefing, Obama relished the chance like a hot fudge sundae, and Press Secretary Josh Earnest told her that the eventual Republican nominee can definitely expect more of the same:
With the presidential race blotting out the sun, it’s easy to forget that the eventual Democratic nominee, be it Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, is going to have at his or her disposal this (evil sneering voice) fully armed and operational battle station! When Hillary and Bernie are done slugging it out, look for Reince Priebus to whirl around in his chair and scream “It’s a trap!”
I know, I know, Emperor Palpatine lost, but that’s because he didn’t have the Jedi on his side. Obama is a Jedi and a Vulcan rolled up in one, and he already won twice. Maybe this will be fun after all.