President Donald Trump? No way, says Obama

US President Barack Obama during a press conference at the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California, on Feb 16.
US President Barack Obama during a press conference at the US-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California, on Feb 16. PHOTO: EPA

RANCHO MIRAGE (California) • US President Barack Obama has hammered home his belief that White House hopeful Donald Trump would not be elected, knocking his reality-show past and penchant for drawing media attention.

Mr Obama did not limit his criticism to the billionaire real estate tycoon, hitting out at "troubling" statements from the entire field of Republican candidates seeking to replace him. But he reserved his toughest remarks for Mr Trump.

"I continue to believe that Mr Trump will not be president. And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognise that being president is a serious job," he said on Tuesday.

"It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It's not promotion. It's not marketing. It's hard," Mr Obama said on the sidelines of a summit with the leaders of 10 South-east Asian nations.

"It's not a matter of pandering and doing whatever will get you in the news on a given day. And sometimes it requires you making hard decisions, even when people don't like it," Mr Obama continued.

IT'S NOT FOR LAUGHS

I continue to believe that Mr Trump will not be president. And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognise that being president is a serious job. It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It's not promotion. It's not marketing. It's hard.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

He also noted the need to be "able to work with leaders around the world in a way that reflects the importance of the office".

"The American people are pretty sensible. And I think they'll make a sensible choice in the end."

Mr Obama insisted that while Mr Trump was the only Republican expressing unsettling proposals, "if you look at what the other Republican candidates have said, that's pretty troubling, too".

"They're all denying climate change. I think that's troubling to the international community."

Mr Trump was scornful of Mr Obama's remarks.

"This man has done such a bad job, he has set us back so far," the real estate magnate said in an interview the same day, adding, however, that in a way, being singled out - even for reproach - by the sitting US President was "a great compliment".

Mr Trump said Mr Obama was "lucky" that he did not run for the US presidency in 2012 as he had contemplated doing, otherwise the Democrat "would have been a one-term president".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'President Donald Trump? No way, says Obama'. Print Edition | Subscribe