Obama: Trump won’t succeed me as president

Michael A. Memoli and Christi Parsons
Tribune Washington Bureau

Rancho Mirage, Calif. — Donald Trump “will not be president” despite his commanding lead in the Republican field, President Barack Obama flatly declared Tuesday, bluntly questioning Trump’s temperament while asserting that a restive electorate would ultimately make a “sensible choice.”

It was Obama’s most scathing assessment of the Republican nomination battle to date as he argued that Trump’s views were the norm, not the exception, in the Republican Party, and that the front-runner had no business being given access to nuclear weapons or deciding how to prevent a banking crisis.

“Whoever is standing where I’m standing right now has the nuclear codes with them, and can order 21-year-olds into a firefight,” he said, “and have to make sure that the banking system doesn’t collapse and is often responsible for not just the United States of America but 20 other countries that are having big problems or are falling apart and are going to be looking for us to do something.

“The American people are pretty sensible,” Obama said. “And I think they’ll make a sensible choice in the end.”

After hosting a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, the president said foreign observers “are troubled” by the rhetoric in the primaries and seemed to share the view himself.

Though voters are venting, he said, ultimately “reality has a way of intruding.”

“I have a lot of faith in the American people. And I think they recognize that being president is a serious job,” Obama said.

He then jabbed at Trump’s celebrity.

“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.”