Obama explains why he said that Trump and Cruz have done us a favor:
I said when I was in L.A. yesterday, and initially people were surprised — I said that I actually think that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have done us a favor. People said, well, how so? This notion that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz are outliers and that now suddenly the Republican establishment wants to — they’re embarrassed by them. Why? They’re saying the same things that these members of the Freedom Caucus in the House have been saying for years. In fact, that’s where Trump got it. He said he’d been listening apparently to their positions on immigration, and their views with respect to national security, and their views on slashing taxes for the wealthiest among us, and slashing Medicaid and changing Medicare, and he’d been paying attention, and he said, you know what, I can deliver this message with more flair — [laughter] — with more panache.
And the reason I actually think that they’ve done us a favor is because it has stripped away any veneer of responsible governance from what had been the central tenets of an awful lot of Republicans in both the House and the Senate during the course of my presidency and before that.
Now, that is different from saying that all Republicans agree with him. I think there is a substantial number of Republicans out there who are embarrassed by it. It’s just that they hadn’t been hearing what was being said on talk radio and Fox News, and blogs and so forth. And so now there’s a little bit of recoil. Is that what we’re standing for? Blocking Muslims from coming into our country? Building walls? Surveilling neighborhoods?
What is the Republican establishment embarrassed about? We’ve had Republicans even more extreme than Trump or Cruz running for president before, like Michele Bachmann. Some of them, like Richard Nixon, even became president before being forced to resign. I think what scares the GOP establishment was that they were always able to control their extremists. After all, their favorite president was Ronald Reagan, who gave a good speech but slept through most of his presidency.