President Barack Obama strongly rebuked Donald Trump Tuesday, calling the Republican presidential nominee “unfit” for the presidency following his criticism of the family of a slain Muslim US soldier.
“The Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president,” Obama said at a White House news conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore. “He keeps on proving it.”
“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge of critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, in Asia, means that he’s woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said.
Speaking alongside Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the White House East Room, Obama said there are now weekly episodes in which even Republican party leaders distance themselves from Trump.
“There has to be a point at which you say, ‘Enough,’ ” Obama said.
Trump and the family of the slain soldier have been locked in an increasingly bitter dispute over Muslims in America and the nature of patriotic sacrifice.
After Khizir Khan, who lost his son in a suicide bombing in Iraq, declared at last week’s Democratic National Convention that Trump had “sacrificed nothing,” the Republican nominee claimed he’d been “viciously attacked” and questioned why Khan’s wife Ghazala didn’t make her own remarks.
Criticism from Trump’s own party came swiftly, including in a lengthy statement from Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom Trump previously derided for having been taken captive in the Vietnam War. But he and other top GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, made little indication they would withdraw support for the Republican candidate.
Obama himself weighed in implicitly during an address to disabled veterans in Atlanta on Monday, saying that Gold Star families deserved only honor and respect. But given the opportunity a day later to address the controversy head on, Obama unleashed a scorching reprimand of Trump.