President Obama worked over incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr in his home state Wednesday for joking about violence against Hillary Clinton and for promising to block any of her Supreme Court nominees.
At a Democratic rally at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Mr. Obama said Mr. Burr is positioning himself as a lackey for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Lately he’s been mimicking Donald Trump,” Mr. Obama said. “Last week he actually joked about violence against Hillary. That’s not something we do. If I heard a Democrat say that, I would condemn them in a hot second. You don’t talk about violence against public officials, even in a joke.”
Mr. Obama added, “He apologized, but the problem is, this is becoming normal. This is sort of the red meat they’re throwing their audiences.”
At a campaign stop at a gun shop on Saturday, Mr. Burr quipped that “nothing made me feel better” than seeing a magazine about rifles “with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it.”
“I was a little bit shocked at that — it didn’t have a bulls-eye on it,” he told GOP volunteers in Mooresville, N.C. “But on the bottom right [of the magazine], it had everybody for federal office in this particular state that they should vote for. So let me assure you, there’s an army of support out there right now for our candidates.”
Mr. Burr also said he would try to keep a seat Supreme Court vacant for four more years if Mrs. Clinton is elected president. The president accused Mr. Burr and the Senate GOP of backing off their position that voters should decide in the election who fills the current vacancy on the high court.
“Only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution?” Mr. Obama asked. “I used to teach constitutional law. I’ve never seen that provision.”
The president told voters, “I need you to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket.”