Presidential races

Obama aide: Trump’s comments disqualify him from presidency

Getty Images

An Obama administration spokesman on Tuesday ripped Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., saying it disqualifies the GOP front-runner from serving as president.

{mosads}In extended diatribe against Trump, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that any Republican candidate who does not denounce Trump is also unqualified to serve as commander in chief.

“What Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president,” Earnest said, comparing the real estate mogul to a “carnival barker” while mocking his “fake hair.”

On the heels of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., Trump said he would “shut the door” on all Muslims who want to enter the country.

The proposal, which Earnest dubbed “morally reprehensible,” earned widespread condemnation from Democrats and Republicans alike and consumed the attention of the news media.

The spokesman fielded multiple questions about Trump’s remarks during his regular news briefing and he was more than happy to fan the flames with his tough rhetoric.

But Earnest said Republicans have not gone far enough in rejecting Trump’s idea.

Earnest said the Trump campaign has a “dustbin-of-history quality about it,” and the question for his Republican rivals is whether they want to join him there.

The spokesman demanded that GOP candidates “say right now that they will not support Donald Trump for president,” noting that every president pledges to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“Any Republican who is too fearful of the Republican base to admit it has no business service as president, either,” he added.

Earnest singled out Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who condemned Trump’s Muslim ban but said he would back the eventual GOP nominee, even if it is Trump.

“This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for,” Ryan said at the Capitol Tuesday.

Earnest again linked Trump to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), whom he referred to “David Duke without the baggage.” Scalise drew fire earlier this year when it was revealed he addressed a white supremacist group when he was a state legislator.

All of those examples show the GOP hasn’t joined the nation “in the 21st century,” Earnest said.

White House officials argue that Trump rhetoric is harmful to national security, because it “makes it much harder” for the U.S. government to build relationships with Muslim groups to crack down on radicalization.

Trump’s plan flies in the face of President Obama’s plea to the nation Sunday night not to succumb to Islamophobia in response to terrorism.

“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam,” Obama said in the Oval Office. “If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.”

While Earnest and other White House officials spent the last 48 hours bashing Trump, the aide said Obama has no plans to personally address Trump’s proposal.

–This report was updated at 1:35 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Paul Ryan
See all Hill.TV See all Video