Vientiane :President Barack Obama said on Thursday that Republican Donald Trump proves he isn’t qualified to be president “every time he speaks,” adding that he was confident Americans would ultimately reject the brash billionaire on Election Day.
Obama, closing out his final presidential trip to Asia, said his meetings with foreign leaders during the trip had illustrated that governing is “serious business” requiring knowledge, preparation and thought-out policies that can actually be implemented. He urged Americans not to allow the “outrageous behavior” seen amid the campaign-season din to become the new normal.
“The most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions to what appear to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright whacky ideas,” Obama said. Throughout the campaign, Obama has repeatedly denounced Trump and deemed him “unfit” to serve as commander in chief, arguing that he’s pulling the Republican Party in a dangerous and unprecedented direction.
Obama has endorsed Hillary Clinton and has said he plans to campaign full-force for the Democrat ahead of the November election. Obama’s remarks came at the end of a grueling nine-day trip that took him to Laos and China following US stops in Nevada, Hawaii and Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It’s the last of 10 trips Obama paid as president to Asia, where Obama lived as a youngster with his mother in Indonesia.
“When I think back to the time I spent here as a boy, I can’t help but be struck by the extraordinary progress that’s been made by the region in the decades since, even if there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Obama said.
At the top of the list of unfinished business is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation free trade deal Obama helped broker. That deal awaits ratification in the US Congress, where there is opposition from both parties.
But Obama said he planned to do everything possible to persuade lawmakers to approve it this year. With his presidency nearing an end, Obama’s agenda has narrowed to a few key goals he hopes to complete before his successor takes over. Asked to acknowledge he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his campaign promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Obama pushed back.
“I am not ready to concede,” Obama said, adding that his administration was making progress in reducing the prison’s population. “I don’t take these comments personally, because it seems as if this is a phrase he’s used repeatedly, directed at the pope and others,” Obama said of the slur. “I think it seems to be just a, you know, a habit, a way of speaking for him.”
On his last day in Asia, Obama met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose help Obama is seeking to galvanize further action on climate change, especially among developing countries. The White House said Obama had affirmed his support for India’s participation in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a consortium aimed at preventing civilian nuclear technology from diverted for military use. Pakistan, India’s longtime adversary, opposes India’s membership in the group.