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World & Nation

Obama says world leaders are ‘rattled’ by Trump — and for good reason

President Obama
President Obama speaks at a news conference in Ise-Shima, Japan, on Thursday.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Obama said Thursday that world leaders are “rattled” by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and that he doesn’t blame them for being worried about the real estate mogul’s political rise.

“They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements but they’re rattled by him, and for good reason,” Obama said. “A lot of the proposals that he has made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is required to keep America safe.”

Though it was one of Obama’s sharper criticisms of Trump, the president did not call the billionaire candidate by name in his public remarks.

Still, he pulled no punches as he described what foreign leaders have told him as he travels through Asia this week, a tour that took him first to Vietnam and then to Japan for a summit of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations.

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To be clear, none of the leaders Obama has been meeting with have made any public statements of their own about Trump. But in a news conference at the end of the G7 summit, Obama said that even critics of the U.S. have made clear to him that they are paying close attention to the election and its possible reverberations around the globe.

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They know that “ultimately things don’t hold together so well if the United States is not making good decisions and count on us to provide a certain level of stability and direction,” Obama said. “I think it’s fair to say that they are surprised by the Republican nominee.”

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Obama has a personal interest in the outcome of the election, as many of his most significant policies were enacted by executive action and depend on his successor to carry them out.

Even with his legacy in the balance, Obama said Thursday that he doesn’t plan to step in to cut off the Democratic primary before the voting is done next month – and maybe not even until one of the candidates has conceded to the other.

He suggested he has a feeling the primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be “resolved” and the party will pull together around a common vision, likely “by the time of the convention” in July in Philadelphia.

In the meantime, he said he has asked both sides to stick to the issues and not make the kind of personal comments that make people “grumpy.

“It weighs on you more, being criticized by folks who are in your own party,” he said. “It always hurts just a little more.”

Follow @cparsons for news about the White House.

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