Obama: Americans Won’t Trust Trump With the Nuclear Codes

World leaders find the positions of GOP candidates “troubling,” the president says.


President Barack Obama blasted the Republican presidential field during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, calling out the candidates on everything from climate change to immigration.

Obama, following two days of negotiations at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in California, was asked by NBC News’ Ron Allen about how foreign leaders at the event had reacted to GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

“The other countries around the world, they kind of count on the United States being on the side of science and reason and common sense.”

“I think foreign observers are troubled by some of the rhetoric that’s been taking place in these Republican primaries and Republican debates,” Obama responded. But he added that the feeling wasn’t confined to Trump’s comments. “He may up the ante in anti-Muslim sentiment,” said the president, “but if you look at what the other Republicans have said, that’s pretty troubling, too.”

Obama then criticized the candidates’ positions on immigration (watch above), before turning to global warming. “They’re all denying climate change,” he said. “I think that’s troubling to the international community, since the science is unequivocal…The other countries around the world, they kind of count on the United States being on the side of science and reason and common sense, because they know that if the United States does not act on big problems in smart ways, nobody will.”

“This is not just Mr. Trump,” Obama continued. “There’s not a single candidate in the Republican primary that thinks we should do anything about climate change, that thinks it’s serious.”

Obama got that right. Trump has called climate change a “hoax.” Ted Cruz recently called it a “pseudoscientific theory.” Marco Rubio told ABC, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” adding that he rejects the idea that “somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.” Jeb Bush thinks it’s “really arrogant” to say the science of climate change has been settled. Even John Kasich said in September: “I don’t believe that humans are the primary cause of climate change.” In December, Kasich criticized the very existence of the Paris climate conference, arguing that the world leaders in attendance should have been focusing on ISIS instead. And while Ben Carson seems to be a big fan of renewable energy, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, “There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused.”

“The rest of the world looks at that,” the president said, “and they say, ‘How can that be?'” Still, he added, “I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president, and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people.” The voters, he said, will realize that “whoever’s standing where I’m standing right now has the nuclear codes with them, and can order 21-year-olds into a firefight, and has to make sure that the banking system doesn’t collapse.”

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

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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