Tuesday at press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in light of the recent controversy with a Gold Star family, President Barack Obama asked Republican leaders why they are continuing to support the GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Partial transcript as follows:
OBAMA: Yes. I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week, and he keeps on proving it. 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. And 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, that 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? 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, and weekly, where they are distancing themselves from statements he’s making. There has to be a point in which you say, this is not somebody I can support for president of the United States. Even if he purports to be a member of my party. And, you know, 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 kinds of statements doesn’t have the judgment, 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. I recognize that they all profoundly disagree with myself or Hillary Clinton on tax policy or on certain elements of foreign policy, but you know, 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 in Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues. But I never thought that they couldn’t do the job had they won. I would have been disappointed, but I would have said to all Americans, they are — 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. 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 in which you say, enough. 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.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN