Asked about the Republican nominee's repeated claims that results could be "rigged" on election day, sitting president offers firm rebuke
By Jon Queally, Common Dreams
During a lunchtime press conference at the White House on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama offered some advice to the Republican candidate trying to win the nation's highest office: "Stop whining."
The statement came in response to a reporter's question regarding Donald Trump's repeated statements that this year's election is "rigged" against him and the dangers—including indications of possible violence by those on the losing side—posed by a major party candidate calling into question the outcome's legitimacy.
"I'd advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes."
—President Barack Obama"
One of the great things about American democracy is that we have a vigorous, sometimes bitter, political contest and when it's done, historically, regardless of party, the person who loses the election congratulates the winner, reaffirms our democracy, and we move forward," Obama said. "That's how democracy survives, because we recognize that there's something more important than any individual campaign and that is making sure the integrity and trust in our institutions sustains itself. Because democracy by its definition works by consent, not by force."
Obama continued, "I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taking place."
Trump's recent behavior and statement, said Obama, is both "unprecedented" and talk about a "rigged" process happens to be "based on no facts" as he cited non-partisan experts who have shown that vote-rigging or voter fraud is practically non-existent and certainly not happening at a scale that would be able to tip the scales in a national election.
Obama called Trump's comments "irresponsible" and said such declarations don't really show the kind of "leadership and toughness you'd want" from a sitting president. "You start whining before the game is even over," he said, "or if whenever things are going badly you start blaming somebody else—then you don't have what it takes to be in this job, because there are a lot of times that things don't go our way—or my way."
So, Obama said, "I'd advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes. And if he gets the most votes then it would be my expectation of Hillary Clinton to offer a gracious concession speech and pledge to work with him in order to make sure that the American people benefit from an effective government. And it would be my job to welcome to Mr. Trump regardless of what he said about me, or my differences with him on my opinions, and escort him over to the capitol where there would be a peaceful transfer of power."
With a final jab at Trump's campaign slogan, Obama concluded his answer to the question by saying, "One way of weakening America and making it less great is if you start betraying those basic American traditions that have been bipartisan and have helped to hold together this democracy for well over two centuries."