President Barack Obama said Thursday that foreign leaders are ”rattled” by Donald Trump and have good reason to feel that way, as he accused the presumptive Republican presidential nominee of ignorance about world affairs.
Weighing in on the Democratic race to replace him, Obama also downplayed concerns that the protracted fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is hurting his party’s chances, brushing off their escalating attacks as the inevitable ”grumpiness” of a primary campaign.
Obama offered his assessment of the presidential campaign on the sidelines of a Group of Seven advanced economies summit in Japan, the latest world gathering to be colored by global concerns about Trump. Obama said foreign leaders at the conference were unsure how seriously to take his pronouncements.
”They are rattled by it – and for good reason,” Obama said. ”Because a lot of the proposals he has made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines.”
Trump, campaigning in Bismarck, N.D., lashed back at Obama, saying ”he’s a person who’s done a terrible job.” Referring to foreign leaders, Trump said, ”If they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Questions about the unpredictable Trump have increasingly trailed Obama when he travels overseas, with world leaders incredulously sizing up a leading presidential candidate who speaks of banning Muslim immigration, starting trade wars and spreading nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea. Obama has said that Trump now comes up in every one of his foreign meetings, with the president offering reassurances that he doesn’t believe Trump will be elected.