Trump is ‘unfit,’ Obama says, challenging GOP to end support
WASHINGTON – The Associated Press
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wait for the arrival of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Mrs. Lee Hsien Loong at the White House in Washington U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS photoIn a searing denouncement, U.S. President Barack Obama castigated Donald Trump as “unfit” and “woefully unprepared” to serve in the White House. He challenged Republicans to withdraw their support for their party’s nominee, declaring “There has to come a point at which you say enough.”
While Obama has long been critical of Trump, his blistering condemnation on Aug. 2 was a notable escalation of his involvement in the presidential race. Obama questioned whether Trump would “observe basic decency” as president, argued he lacks elementary knowledge about domestic and international affairs and condemned his disparagement of an American Muslim couple whose son was killed while serving the U.S. Army in Iraq.
A chorus of Republicans has disavowed Trump’s criticism of Khizr and Ghazala Khan and the Republican nominee’s calls to temporarily ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. But Obama argued that it is not enough.
“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 asked during a White House news conference. “What does this say about your party that this is your standard-bearer?”
“The alternative is that the entire party, the Republican Party, effectively endorses and validates the positions that are being articulated by Mr. Trump,” Obama was quoted as saying by AFP.
No prominent Republican lawmaker responded to Obama’s challenge.
But Trump gave a response to Obama on Twitter.
“President Obama will go down as perhaps one of the worst president in the history of the United States,” Trump tweeted.
Obama’s harsh comments were an attempt to raise the stakes for Republicans, suggesting their support for Trump will taint their party for years to come. His statements also dovetail with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s efforts to reach out to Republican voters - particularly women - who may be so upset by Trump that they are willing to look past policy differences and questions about Clinton’s character.
Congressman Richard Hanna went one step further, becoming the first Republican lawmaker to say he will vote for Trump’s opponent, Clinton, in November.
“I find Trump deeply flawed in endless ways,” Hanna wrote in a newspaper editorial announcing his decision, according to AFP.
Obama turned up the heat on Republicans who appear increasingly ill at ease with Trump but have not withdrawn their endorsement.
“This isn’t a situation where you have an episodic gaffe,” Obama said. “This is daily and weekly where they are distancing themselves from statements he’s making.”