President Obama said Tuesday that he doesn’t think Republican front-runner Donald Trump will succeed him in the Oval Office, despite the billionaire’s impressive poll numbers and victory in the New Hampshire primary.
“I continue to believe 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 recognize that being president is a serious job,” Obama said at a California press conference. “It’s not hosting a talk show or a reality show, it’s not promotion, it’s not marketing, it’s hard. And a lot of people count on us getting it right, and it’s not a matter of pandering and doing whatever gets you in the news on a given day.”
The comments are some of the most direct Obama has made regarding the 2016 presidential race, though he has condemned what he sees as anti-Muslim rhetoric from the Republican field, which he did again on Tuesday, emphasizing that Trump is not the only one making divisive comments.
“I think foreign observers are troubled by some of the rhetoric that’s taken place in these Republican primaries, and the Republican debates. I don’t think it’s restricted, by the way, to Mr. Trump,” Obama said. “I mean, I find it interesting that everyone’s focused on Trump, primarily just because he says in more interesting ways what the other candidates are saying as well.”
“So he may up the ante in anti-Muslim sentiment, but if you look at what the other candidates have said, that’s pretty troubling too.”
He also singled out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), though not by name, for his change of stance on immigration.
“You’ve got a candidate who sponsored a bill that I supported to finally solve the immigration problem, and he’s running away from it as fast as he can,” Obama said referring to the failed 2013 “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill.
Obama also slammed the GOP candidates for their opposition to actions to fight climate change.
“The other countries around the world, they kind of count on the United States being on the side of science and reason and common sense,” he said.
“There is not a single candidate in the Republican primary that thinks we should do anything about climate change, that thinks it’s serious. Well that’s a problem.”
Still, Obama said he was optimistic that voters would settle on a qualified candidate.
“The American people are pretty sensible, and I think they’ll make a sensible choice in the end.”