President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cannot continue to endorse Donald Trump for president while repeatedly denouncing the nominee’s comments.
Obama said offensive statements from Trump weren’t “episodic gaffe[s]” but are happening “daily and weekly.”
“The question you have to ask yourself is, if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what [Trump] has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him? What does this say about your party that this is your standard-bearer?” Obama said during a press conference Tuesday. “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.”
Trump has made disparaging comments about a military family who spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention. The Khan family, who is Muslim, lost their son in Iraq in 2004.
Obama said he doesn’t doubt the sincerity of Republicans who rebuke Trump’s statements, but said they “ring hollow” if members of the party continue supporting their candidate regardless. McCain, himself a veteran, said Trump had no license to “defame” Khizr Khan and released a statement saying “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement.”
In his speech at the convention, Khan rebuked Trump for his proposed ban on Muslims in the U.S. and told the Republican nominee “he has sacrificed nothing and no one.” Trump said this was a “vicious attack” on him.
Obama said in addition to his comments about the Khan family, Trump’s recent statements about Russia and Ukraine also prove he is “unfit” to be president.
“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that made extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia means that he's woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said.