Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives for a campaign event in Aston, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2016. (AFP photo)
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has urged President Barack Obama to quit campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and focus on his own job instead.
“Why isn't President Obama working instead of campaigning for Hillary Clinton?” Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday.
The criticism came a day after Obama led a campaign event for the former secretary of state in Philadelphia, where he said, "I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton.”
During his address to Clinton’s supporters, Obama also blasted Trump for an interview with the Russian television network RT, where the New York businessman gave kudos to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his popularity.
The American president likened Putin to Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein and accused him of rigging polls, saying that Trump supports a man who “invades smaller countries.”
He was referring to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, which happened in 2014. The territory then formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum—with a turnout of 83.1 percent—in which 96.8 percent of participants voted in favor of the decision.
Since then, the US and some other Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia, accusing Moscow of fueling a military conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces have been trying to crack down on pro-Russians.
US President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016. (AFP photo)
Obama said Tuesday that Trump sees Putin as a “role model” — a person who on top of attacking smaller nations, “jails his opponents, controls the press and drives his economy into a long recession.”
Trump hit back by saying that Moscow “took Crimea” under Obama’s watch.
“Russia took Crimea during the so-called Obama years. Who wouldn't know this and why does Obama get a free pass?” he said in another tweet on Tuesday evening.
The back and forth did not go unnoticed by Russia, with the Kremlin blasting Obama for his remarks on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, we see continued displays of often hard-core Russophobia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a press briefing. “We can only express regret in this regard.”