Obama: Trump’s warning on rigged elections is ‘ridiculous’

The advertised purpose of President Barack Obama’s pre-vacation news conference Thursday was to highlight gains in the war against ISIS in...

The advertised purpose of President Barack
Obama’s pre-vacation news conference Thursday
was to highlight gains in the war against ISIS in
Iraq and Syria with the Pentagon as a backdrop.
But for all his talk of terrorism, Russia and other
geopolitical challenges, the underlying argument
he wanted to make was clear: it’s a serious
business being commander-in-chief and the
Republican who wants his job isn’t fit for the
Oval Offe.
Obama ridiculed Donald Trump’s recent
suggestion that the election system could be
rigged, called on the candidate to act like a
president since he’s soon to be briefed on
confidential information and implied that he
didn’t believe the billionaire businessman could
be trusted with America’s nuclear codes.
“Just listen to what Mr. Trump has to say and
make your own judgment with respect to how
confident you feel about his ability to manage
things like our nuclear triad,” he said in response
to a question from CNN’s Barbara Starr. “This is
serious business.”
Unserious, he suggested, was Trump’s warning
that November’s election could be rigged against
him: He mocked the assertion as “ridiculous.”
“Of course the election won’t be rigged. What
does that mean?” Obama said, struggling to
disguise his contempt. “If Mr. Trump is
suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that
is propagated across the country, including in
places like Texas where typically it is not
Democrats who are in charge of voting booths,
that’s ridiculous. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Obama, in his last planned public appearance
before his annual vacation in Martha’s Vineyard,
said he had never heard of anyone complaining
that they had been cheated before the score had
been tallied.
“My suggestion would be, you know, go out
there and try to win the election.”
“If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election
Day and he ends up losing, then, you know,
maybe he can raise some questions,” Obama
said. “That doesn’t seem to be the case at the
moment.”
Obama speaks out
It was the latest in a string of recent presidential
rebukes to the GOP nominee. Obama hit out at
Trump just two days after branding him unfit to
be commander in chief from the podium in the
White House’s East Room. His intervention
underscored the unusually prominent role the
current occupant of the Oval Office is playing in
the election to decide his successor as he tries
to ensure that Democrat Hillary Clinton wins in
November.
Obama did say, however, that should Trump beat
Clinton, he would fulfill his duty to help the
incoming president despite his criticisms of the
billionaire’s fitness for the Oval Office.
“If somebody wins the election and they are
president, then my responsibility is to peacefully
transfer power to that individual. And do
everything I can to help them succeed,” he said.
Obama: Trump ‘woefully unprepared’ to be
president 02:58
But, he said, “We’re going to go by the law which
is that — tradition and the law — that if someone
is the Republican nominee for president, they
need to get security briefings so if they were to
win, they are not starting from scratch in terms of
being prepared for this office.”
According to legal experts, however, there is no
law requiring security briefings of presidential
candidates, just a decades-long practice of doing
so.
“They have been told: These are classified
briefings. If they want to be president, they have
got to start acting like (a) president. That means
being able to receive these briefings and not
spreading them around,” he said.
Trump and Clinton are expected to soon start
getting classified intelligence briefings in the run-
up to the election. Some Trump critics have
contended that the billionaire’s unrestrained
tongue could put US secrets in danger.
Republicans, meanwhile, have argued that Clinton
should be barred from the briefings, saying she
put classified information at risk through her use
of a private email server for official business
while secretary of state.
Though the briefings don’t go into sources or
methods of collecting intelligence, as they are
considered extremely sensitive, they will offer a
broad look at the threats and challenges facing
US national security.
Trump calls Obama one of the worst
presidents 04:00
ISIS is top challenge
Obama pointed to many such challenges in
Thursday’s Pentagon news conference,
particularly the fight against ISIS, also known as
ISIL.
“In fact, the decline of ISIL in Syria and Iraq
appears to be causing it to shift to tactics that
we’ve seen before, an even greater emphasis on
encouraging high-profile terrorist attacks,
including in the United States,” Obama said.
He warned that there remained a “serious” threat
of an ISIS attack on US soil, that would not be
spectacular, like al Qaeda’s assault on 9/11 but
could be a smaller scale operations using “small
arms, or assault rifles,” or a truck, as happened
recently in Nice, France.
The President, who has been accused by critics
of not doing enough to stop the splintering of
Syria amid a vicious civil war, indicated that he
was always searching for a better policy.
“A big chunk of my gray hair comes out of my
Syria meetings,” Obama said, who held a
meeting of his National Security Council at the
sprawling military headquarters outside
Washington before addressing the media.
“There’s not a meeting that I don’t end by
saying, “Is there something else we can be doing
that we haven’t thought of? Is there a plan F, G,
H, that we haven’t thought of?'”
U.S. considers deal with Russia to fight
terror 01:34
Obama warned that if Russia did not help deliver
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a ceasefire
deal in his civil-war-wracked country, it would
expose itself as an irresponsible actor on the
world stage.
“I’m not confident that we can trust the Russians
and Vladimir Putin, which is why we have to test
whether or not we can get an actual cessation of
hostilities that includes an end to the kind of
aerial bombing and civilian death and destruction
that we’ve seen carried out by the Assad regime,”
he said.
Obama additionally offered a survey of diverse
military operations around the world, including
the fight to support the Afghan government in its
civil war with the Taliban and a growing ISIS
presence. He also mentioned the latest
expansion of anti-ISIS operations in Libya as
government forces there try to take back the city
of Sirte from the radical Islamic group.
No ransom
Obama also forcibly denied that his
administration had effectively paid a ransom to
Iran after delivering $400 million of a $1.7 billion
payment to settle a decades-old dispute over an
arms deal on the same day that four US
prisoners were freed in January.
“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here and we
won’t in the future,” Obama said, adding that he
had been open about the deal at the time and
that recent reports about it simply offered new
details about the transfer, carried out with a plane
ferrying palettes of foreign currency.
As he celebrated his 55th birthday on Thursday,
Obama can bask in the benefit of rising poll
numbers. A new CNN/ORC poll finds that they
stand at their highest level since just before his
second inauguration in 2013.

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Today in Kenya: Obama: Trump’s warning on rigged elections is ‘ridiculous’
Obama: Trump’s warning on rigged elections is ‘ridiculous’
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