CNN anchor Jake Tapper bluntly questioned whether President Barack Obama's fierce denunciation of Donald Trump's rhetoric on Islam suggests the commander in chief doesn't trust Hillary Clinton to make the case.
"The Lead" host voiced the speculation in an analysis following Obama's fiery attack Tuesday on the GOP presumptive presidential nominee, when Obama railed at Trump's criticism of him for not using the term "radical Islamic terrorism."
"We are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mindset and this kind of thinking can be," Obama fumed in remarks at the Treasury Department. "We're starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we're fighting, where this can lead us."
He also accused Republicans of fostering resentment among Muslims that could generate further attacks.
Tapper noted it Obama was "obviously" eager to take on Trump. A video of his remarks was posted by Mediaite.
"Let me also make one observation, which is obviously President Obama is very eager to get into this political debate and he's very eager to defend himself, but also to do what he can to stop Donald Trump from becoming president," he said.
"I can't help but observe that if he thought Hillary Clinton was doing a good job or an effective job making the case against Trump, maybe he wouldn't go to the East Room and make it himself."
"So in a way, while this is completely a condemnation of Trump and everything Trump stands for, I wouldn't say that President Obama entering the presidential race this way exactly expresses a huge vote of confidence in the way that Hillary Clinton is rebutting Trump and making the same exact points that the president just made," he added.
Republicans have blasted the president for refusing to use the phrase "radical Islam" — saying it shows a weakness and ineffectiveness in dealing with ISIS
"The men and women who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces I ordered to get [Osama] bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria — they know full well who the enemy is," Obama said.
"They know what the nature of the enemy is," he added. "So there's no magic to the phrase 'radical Islam.' It's a political talking point."
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