White House race not a ‘reality show’, says Obama on Trump
"This is not entertainment, this is not a reality show. This is a contest for US presidency", Obama said. "With respect to the Republican process and Mr. Trump, there's going to be a lot of talks about his position on various issues. He has a long record that needs to be examined. And I think it's important for us to take seriously the statements he's made in the past," he added.
Trump has provoked number of protests with his controversial speeches and proposals ranging from banning of Muslims from entering the US and keeping out Mexican migrants by building a wall to slashing US funding for NATO.
"I think I just want to emphasise the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job," Obama said. He also added that every candidate and nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny.
"It means that you've got to make sure that their budgets add up. It means that if they say they've got an answer to a problem that it is actually plausible and that they have details for how it would work, and if it's completely implausible and would not work, that needs to be reported on and the Americans need to know that," he said.
"If they take a position on international issues that could threaten war or has the potential of upending our critical relationships with other countries or would potentially break the financial system, that needs to be reported on," he added.
He also raised his concerns about the degree to which reporting and information starts emphasising “the spectacle and the circus”, mentioning it as something they “can’t afford”.
Obama also took a dig at the Republican leadership that has resulted in the rise of Trump. "There is no doubt that there is a debate that's taking place inside the Republican Party about who they are and what they represent. Their standard bearer at the moment is Donald Trump," he said.
"Not just Republican officials, but more importantly, Republican voters are going to have to make a decision as to whether this is the guy who speaks for them and represents their values," he added.
Republican leaders divided over Trump’s nomination
The Republican leadership on Saturday, appeared to be bitterly divided on Donald Trump, who has been emerging as the party's presumptive presidential nominee.
While a top section of the party's established leadership openly said that they would not support the 69-year-old candidate, the real estate mogul from New York gained more endorsement including the former presidential nominee Bob Dole.
At least two of the former presidential candidates Jeb Bush (former Governor of Florida) and Senator Lindsey Graham, have openly said that they would not support Trump in his race to the White House.
Trump received a major boost to his campaign as Rick Perry, the former Texas Governor endorsed him, so did Bob Dole, the party's presidential nominee for 1996.
“The voters of our country have turned out in record numbers to support Trump. Their votes should be honored and it is time that we support Trump” Dole said in a statement.
Dole added that he plans to attend the Cleveland Convention in July where Trump would be formally designated as the party's presidential nominee.
"We must unite as a party to defeat Hillary Clinton. Trump is our party's face and our best chance at taking back the White House this November," Dole added.
Two former Republican presidents George HW Bush and George W Bush along with Senator John McCain, announced that they would not be attending the Cleveland convention. "I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels” Bush wrote on his Facebook Page.