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In Laos, Obama blasts Donald Trump's White House qualifications

Obama's tense Asia trip

During a historic visit to Laos, President Obama took aim at Republican nominee Donald Trump and his qualifications for the Oval Office, just days after the billionaire offered his own criticisms of the president’s trip to Asia.

“I don’t think the guy’s qualified to be president of the United States,” Mr. Obama said in a press conference early Thursday, shortly before his return to the U.S. “Every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.”

The president, who has come out swinging against Trump this election cycle, went further, urging Americans to pay close attention to some of the GOP nominee’s sometimes “outright wacky” policy proposals.

“I think the most important thing for the public and the press is to just listen to what he says and follow up and ask questions about what appears to be either contradictory or uninformed or outright wacky ideas,” Mr. Obama said.

The president also pushed the public to think critically about the campaign season rhetoric.

“There is this process that seems to take place over the course of the election season where somehow behavior that in normal times we would consider completely unacceptable and outrageous becomes normalized,” he said. “And people start thinking that we should be grading on a curve.”

“But,” he added, “I can tell you from the interactions I’ve had over the last eight or nine days with foreign leaders, that this is serious business.”

Especially when it comes to meeting with foreign powers, “you actually have to know what you’re talking about,” the president said. “And you actually have to have done your homework, and when you speak it should actually reflect thought out policy that you can implement actual policy.”

Mr. Obama’s targeted critique of Trump comes shortly after the GOP nominee lambasted the optics of the president’s visit to China.

Trump focused particularly on how, upon Air Force One’s arrival at the Hangzhou airport, there was no red-carpeted staircase offered for Mr. Obama to exit the plane: 

At NBC’s “commander-in-chief” forum Wednesday night, Trump also compared the president unfavorably to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, he said, has “been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.”