VIENTIANE, Laos — President Obama struck back at Donald Trump on Thursday, repeating that the Republican presidential nominee is not qualified for office and warning that his "unacceptable and outrageous" behavior is becoming normalized in the 2016 election cycle.
"I don't think the guy's qualified to be president of the United States, and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed," Obama said at a news conference in Laos after a three-day visit to this Southeast Asian nation. "There is this process that seems to take place over the course of the election season where somehow behavior that in normal times we consider completely unacceptable and outrageous becomes normalized and people think we ought to be grading on a curve."
Obama was responding to a reporter's question about Trump's criticism of the president during a televised forum on Wednesday in which the GOP standard-bearer said Russian President Vladimir Putin was a stronger leader than Obama. Trump also said Obama's leadership had demoralized U.S. military generals.
Obama, who has sharply criticized Trump several times in previous public remarks, appeared exasperated in having to respond again. He said that "the most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions about what appear to be contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas."
Despite voicing concern that Trump's behavior was not being scrutinized closely enough by the press, the president emphasized that he believes the American public will examine his track record "and make a good decision."
Nakamura reported from Washington.