In Front of Foreign Leader, Obama Denounces Trump as ‘Unfit to Serve’

By Melanie Arter | August 2, 2016 | 12:28pm EDT
President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

( – During a joint White House press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Barack Obama spent more than five minutes explaining why he thinks GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is “unfit to serve as president,” pointing to recent statements Trump made about the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, a decorated Army veteran who was killed in Iraq.

“Yes, I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week, and he keeps on proving it,” Obama said when asked by CBS News’ Margaret Brennan whether Trump’s comments about “the Khan family and his statement that if president he would consider recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea” makes Obama question Trump’s “fitness to be president.”



Khan’s parents - Khizr and Ghazala Khan – took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to criticize Trump.  

On Saturday, Trump questioned whether Khizr’s speech was written by the Clinton campaign, and then he questioned why Khizr’s wife, Ghazala, didn’t speak onstage at the convention.

“His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say,” Trump said. “You tell me, but plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet and it looked like she had nothing to say.”

Khizr called Trump “a black soul” who is “totally unfit” for leadership during an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union.” Trump took to Twitter on Monday, tweeting,"Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same." 

“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that had made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, means that he’s woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said, adding that “this is not just my opinion.”

“I think what’s been interesting is the repeated denunciations of his statements by leading Republicans, including the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader and prominent Republicans like John McCain, and the question I think they have to ask themselves is: 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.

“What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer?” the president asked.

“This isn’t a situation where you have an episodic gaffe. This is daily and weekly where they are distancing themselves from statements he’s making. There has to be a point at which you say this is not someone I can support for president of the United States even if he purports to be a member of my party,” Obama said, “and the fact that, that has not yet happened makes some of these denunciations ring hollow.

“I don’t doubt their sincerity. I don’t doubt that they were outraged about some of the statements that Mr. Trump and his supporters made about the Khan family, but there has to come a point at which you say somebody who makes those statement doesn’t have the judgement, the temperament, the understanding to occupy the most powerful position in the world, because a lot of people depend on the White House getting stuff right, and this is different than just having policy disagreements,” he said.

Obama said he recognizes that Republicans “all profoundly disagree” with Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “on tax policy or on certain elements of foreign policy, but there have been Republican presidents with whom I disagreed with, but I didn’t have a doubt that they could function as president.”

“I think I was right, and Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought that they couldn’t do the job,” Obama said.

Had his Republican presidential rivals won, Obama said he “would have been disappointed,” but he would have told Americans: “This is our president, and I know that 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 that our government will work, and then we’ll compete four years from now to try to win an election.

“But that’s not the situation here, and that’s not just my opinion. That is the opinion of many prominent Republicans. There has to come a point at which you say enough,” he said.

“And the alternative is that the entire party – the Republican Party – effectively endorses and validates the positions that are being articulated by Mr. Trump, and as I said in my speech last week, I don’t think that actually represents the views of a whole lot of Republicans out there,” Obama said.

MRC Store