Obama, Clinton rebuke Trump for campaign rhetoric

AFP , Sunday 13 Mar 2016

President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser at Gilley's Club in Dallas, Saturday, March 12, 2016. (Photo: AP)

President Barack Obama gave a mocking rebuke Saturday of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for his incendiary language on the campaign trail.

At a Democratic fundraising event in Dallas, Texas, Obama took a swipe at Trump's sideline wine label -- just a tiny piece of his sprawling business empire.

But the president offered a serious condemnation of the "divisiveness" fomented by Trump on the campaign trail, including his motto "Make America Great Again."

"We are great right now," Obama retorted, in remarks that came one day after skirmishes broke out at a scuttled Trump rally in Chicago.

"What the folks who are running for office should be focused on is how we can make it even better -- not insults and schoolyard taunts and manufacturing facts, not divisiveness along the lines of race and faith. Certainly not violence against other Americans," Obama said.

Meanwhile, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton issued a stern warning to Trump after tensions boiled over in Chicago, just days before a crucial new round of presidential nomination votes on Tuesday.

"If you play with matches, you're going to start a fire you can't control. That's not leadership," she said. "That's political arson."

A Trump campaign event was canceled in Chicago on Friday when throngs of protesters -- many of them blacks and Latinos angered by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric -- massed outside and inside the venue, mingling and in some cases brawling with the candidate's supporters.

Critics warned that Trump's inflammatory language set the tone for the violence, and urged him to tone down the campaign rhetoric.

The billionaire businessman on Saturday had two more huge gatherings schedule in the heartland state of Ohio, amid fears of fresh violence.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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