In a searing and virtually unprecedented presidential rebuke, Barack Obama declared embattled Republican White House nominee Donald Trump “unfit” to be president Tuesday and called on party leaders to disown him.
Obama piled on as Trump’s campaign reeled from multiple self-inflicted scandals, calling the 70-year-old mogul “woefully unprepared” and “unfit to serve as president.”
“He keeps proving it,” said Obama, standing alongside the prime minister of Singapore and casting aside any pretense of domestic unity.
In recent days, Trump has criticised Muslims, babies, firefighters and the military, prompting his wincing Republican backers to issue awkward denunciations.
Republican lawmaker to vote for Trump’s opponent
Congressman Richard Hanna went one step further, becoming the first Republican lawmaker to say he will vote for Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in November.
“I find Trump deeply flawed in endless ways,” Hanna wrote in a newspaper editorial announcing his decision.
Obama turned up the heat on Republicans who appear increasingly ill at ease with Trump but have not withdrawn their endorsement.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.”
“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.'”
“There has to come a point at which you say ‘enough,'” he said.
“The alternative is that the entire party, the Republican Party, effectively endorses and validates the positions that are being articulated by Mr Trump.”
Leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain may have been given further pause by Trump’s refusal to reciprocate their endorsements.