President Barack Obama was highly critical of Donald Trump in a press conference on Tuesday that turned into a scathing assessment of the Republican candidates to replace him as president of the United States.
"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," Obama told reporters on Tuesday.
But Obama went on to compare Trump to the rest of the Republican candidates for his job, arguing that the businessman isn't alone in espousing controversial positions on immigration, climate change, and other issues.
"I find it interesting that everyone is so focused on Trump, primarily because he says in more interesting ways what the other candidates are saying as well," Obama said. "And so he may up the ante in anti-Muslim sentiment, but if you look at what the other Republican candidates have said, that's pretty troubling too."
Obama also made references to immigration and climate change, noting that "a candidate" — Sen. Marco Rubio, whom he did not name — once supported an immigration bill that the president himself backed, but that because the issue is so unpopular with the Republican electorate, "he's running away from it as fast as he can."
"They're all denying climate change. I think that's troubling to the international community since the science is unequivocal," Obama added. "And you know the other countries around the world, they kind of rely 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."
The president's remarks come just a week after Trump won the New Hampshire primary and ahead of Republican contests in Nevada and South Carolina, where he holds strong leads in public polling. Democrats feel strongly that their best shot in the presidential race is against Trump, whose positions have turned off many liberal voters. Advancing further interest in Trump's candidacy from the presidential platform is likely to only galvanize Democratic voters who will need to show up to the polls in November to maintain the party's hold on the White House.
Obama was also asked Tuesday about his position in the Democratic primary, where his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is facing off against his former Senate colleague, Bernie Sanders. Obama called Clinton an "outstanding secretary of state," noting that he knows her better after working together in the administration than he does Sanders.
However, Obama declined to weigh in on the race, at least not yet, saying that "ultimately I will probably have an opinion" on whether Clinton or Sanders is best positioned to serve as president. But for now, he's letting voters decide without any influence from the sitting president.
"My hope is that we can let the primary voters... have their say for a while," he said.