Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s suggestion that the United States should ban Muslims from coming into the country has outraged many—including the current occupants of the White House.
Obama administration spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking to reporters during a news conference today (Dec. 8), questioned Trump’s fitness for the presidency and said that Trump’s GOP colleagues should denounce him as a presidential candidate.
“The fact is the first thing a president does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States,” Earnest said. “And the fact is what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president.”
He probably wasn’t being literal—as a natural born US citizen who has resided in the US for at least 14 years and has seen his 35th birthday come and go, Trump indeed remains qualified for the job.
What was really eyebrow-raising about Earnest’s comments, though, was that he also decided to take on the hair:
“From the vacuous sloganeering to the outright lies to even the fake hair, the whole carnival-barker routine that we’ve seen for some time now. The question now is about the rest of the Republican Party and whether or not they’re going to be dragged into the dustbin of history with him.”
NPR’s Mara Liasson called him out for repeating the kind of comment that would be right at home at Trump’s campaign headquarters.
“That’s a hallmark of Trump, to comment on somebody—your opponent’s appearance. It’s not something that I would ever expect to come from the Obama White House,” she said.
Earnest answered: “I guess I was describing why it would be easy for people to dismiss the Trump campaign as not particularly serious.”