Barack Obama: Donald Trump ‘will not be president’
US president scolds Republicans for vowing to block nominee to supreme court seat
In some of his most candid remarks about the race to succeed him, Mr Obama criticised the New York billionaire who leads the contest for the Republican nomination in November’s election.
“I continue to believe Mr Trump will not be president,” he told reporters on a visit to California. “And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people.”
Challenging the reality TV star’s credibility as a contender, he said he still believes that Americans view the presidency as “a serious job”.
“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,” said Mr Obama.
He declined to answer a question about whether Mr Trump would be the Republican nominee.
The property mogul, in response, said that the 44th president “has done such a lousy job.”
The latest poll in South Carolina, the third state to vote in the Republican race in a primary on Saturday, showed Mr Trump maintaining a strong lead over rivals.
The entertainment tycoon, who won the New Hampshire primary last week, received 38 per cent support in a CNN/ORC poll, ahead of Texas senator Ted Cruz in second place with 22 per cent. Mr Cruz came first in Iowa’s Republican caucuses on February 1st.
They are followed by Florida senator Marco Rubio on 14 per cent, former Florida governor Jeb Bush on 10 per cent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson on 6 per cent and Ohio governor John Kasich, who came second in New Hampshire last week, on 4 per cent.
Clinton leadHillary ClintonBernie Sanders
The race is tighter in Nevada where Democrat caucus-goers choose next on Saturday; the two remaining candidates are in a statistic dead heat with Mrs Clinton polling 48 per cent to Mr Sanders’s 47 per cent.
At his press conference in California, Mr Obama rounded on Republicans for threatening not to vote on his chosen successor to replace supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday.
Mr Obama said that the constitution was “pretty clear” about how the system worked: he has to nominate a replacement and the Senate has either to disapprove of that nominee or confirm the person.
“I am amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there,” he said.
The president said that he was going to present a nominee who was “indisputably” qualified.
“I intend to do my job between now and January 20th, 2017. I expect them to do their job as well,” said Mr Obama of Republicans.