- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

President Obama said Wednesday he’s “worried” for the GOP, saying the country is better off when there are two healthy political parties but Republicans’ choice of Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee suggests deep problems.

Discussing weighty political issues with NBC’s “Tonight Show,” in an interview to be aired Thursday, Mr. Obama said Democrats are better off for their divisive primary, which saw likely nominee Hillary Clinton work harder than expected to see off Sen. Bernard Sanders, who entered as a fringe candidate.

But Mr. Obama said the GOP is in trouble with Mr. Trump, who Mr. Obama said isn’t up for the job of being president.

“You want the Republican nominee to be somebody who could do the job if they win. And you want folks who understand the issues. And where you can sit across the table from ‘em and you have a principled argument. And ultimately can still move the country forward,” Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript provided by NBC.

The president, who previously had said he could have won a third term if he’d been eligible to run, said he’s been disappointed with the Republicans he’s had to work with in Washington. He said he took office facing tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan and massive job losses at home in the economic downturn, and he’d hoped for better cooperation.

“So I am actually not enjoying, and I haven’t been enjoying over the last seven years, watching some of the things that have happened in the Republican Party ‘cause there’s some good people in the Republican Party,” he said.

“But what’s happened in that party culminating in this current nomination, I think is not actually good for the country as a whole. It’s not something Democrats should wish for. And my hope is, is that maybe once you get through this cycle, there’s some corrective action and they get back to being a center right party,” he said.

There’s been little love lost between Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump for years, culminating with the billionaire businessman questioning Mr. Obama’s birth certificate in the 2012 election — forcing the White House to eventually release the full document and put the doubts to rest.

This campaign, Mr. Obama and his top aides have taken a particularly active role in politics, with the president seemingly relishing playing the role of pundit-in-chief, using a brief press conference earlier this year to repeatedly blast Mr. Trump.

Indeed, when asked at first by host Jimmy Fallon whether the GOP was happy with its choice, Mr. Obama shot back: “We are.”

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