Though the speech wasn’t a true Obama DGAF moment, he made a few choice thinly veiled jabs at the Republican presidential candidates and right-wing icons who’ve given him heartburn during his tenure.
On Trump, who’s built his candidacy on anti-Muslim sentiment, fearmongering about China’s rise, and the slogan “Make America Great Again,” and who found the State of the Union "boring, slow, lethargic":
“America has been through big changes before. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.”
“When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country."
“I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. … When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us.”
On Ted Cruz, who’s advocated for “carpet-bombing ISIS into oblivion”:
“Our foreign policy must be focused on the threat from ISIL and al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world. … The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”
On Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, and Rand Paul, who’ve stoked fears of an imminent world war:
“As we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands.”
On the Koch brothers, who run a dark-money machine that will fuel the Republican primary:
“We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families and hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections — and if our existing approach to campaign finance can’t pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution.”