President Barack Obama on Tuesday called Donald Trump “woefully unprepared” to be president and criticized Republicans for not withdrawing their support for the GOP nominee.
Trump lacks the “judgement” and “temperament” and “the understanding” to occupy the Oval Office, Obama said during a joint press conference at the White House with his counterpart from Singapore.
“If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Obama said of GOP lawmakers and party leaders. “What does this say about your party, that this is your standard bearer? This isn’t a situation where you have an episodic gaffe — this is daily.”
The blut assessment was Obama’s most candid yet about the billionaire and former reality television star’s qualifications.
Obama pointed to Trump’s verbal “attack” on the family of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a car bomb while serving in Iraq in 2004, and Trump’s seeming lack of “basic knowledge around critical issues” in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The captain’s father, Khizr Khan, spoke forcefully at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia about Trump’s rhetoric concerning Muslims. The Khans are part of a group called Gold-Star Families, an organization composed in 2005 by family members of troops killed in the Iraq war.
Obama said he does not doubt the sincerity of the GOP leaders who over the weekend issued statements condemning their nominee’s comments about the Khans. But he said there should come a point where they rescind their endorsements of Trump.
“A lot of people depend on the White House getting stuff right,” Obama said. “This is different than just having policy disagreements … There have been Republican presidents with whom I disagreed with. But I didn’t have a doubt that they could function as president.”
Of his two GOP general election foes, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama said while they didn’t agree on policy matters, “I never thought that they couldn’t do the job.”
“And had they won, I would have been disappointed, but I would have said to all Americans, ‘This is our president and I know they’re going to abide by certain norms and rules and common sense, will observe basic decency, will have enough knowledge about economic policy and foreign policy, and our Constitutional traditions and rule of law,” Obama said. “But that’s not the situation here.
“And that’s not just my opinion. That’s the opinion of many prominent Republicans,” he said. “But there has to come a point at which you say enough.”