President Barack Obama is eagerly anticipating the chance to hit the campaign trail to combat Donald Trump, while the Democratic nomination process drags on.
“President Obama is keenly aware of the significant stakes of the outcome of the next election,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today. “And I assure that over the next six months, the president will be actively engaged in that debate and he looks forward to engage more deeply.”
Earnest suggested that Obama was particularly anxious to defend important parts of his presidential legacy, citing economic growth and improved diplomatic relations around the world.
“The president doesn’t want to see that eroded, in fact, he wants to make sure that he is succeeded by a president that recognizes that progress and is committed to building on it,” he said.
Earnest made the remarks in response to questions about Republicans meeting Trump in Washington D.C. to discuss unity, while the Democrats were still locked into a divisive primary.
He suggested that the meeting between Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump indicated that the Republican party hadn’t achieved unity.
“I think there’s more work to be done there, and I think that’s evident from the statement that the two men issued,” he said.
Obama has repeatedly dismissed Trump’s ability to win the presidency, but his tone has shifted in recent months to tackle the presumed Republican nominee more directly.
Earlier this month, he urged reporters to take the election more seriously, arguing that it wasn’t just a “reality show.”
“What I’m concerned about is the degree to which reporting and information starts emphasizing the spectacle and the circus,” he said during a press conference. “Because that’s not something we can afford.”