Election 2020

Obama: World Leaders 'Rattled' by Trump's 'Ignorance' and 'Cavalier Attitude'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama chat during the G7 Summit in Shima, Japan, on May 26, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)

President Obama noted on a trip abroad today that Donald Trump’s candidacy is “rattling” world leaders, prompting Trump to later fire back that it was a good thing.

Speaking to reporters at the G7 meeting in Ise-shima, Japan, Obama was asked how his global counterparts were reacting now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

“The world pays attention to the U.S. elections. They pay more attention to our elections sometimes than we pay to theirs, because the United States is, as I’ve said before, at the heart of the international order,” Obama replied. “And even those countries that are critical of us, even those countries that complain or question particular policy decisions that we make know that ultimately things don’t hold together so well if the United States is not making good decisions, and count on us to provide a certain level of stability and direction in meeting global challenges.”

“So they are paying very close attention to this election. I think it’s fair to say that they are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements,” he continued.

“But they’re rattled by him — and for good reason — because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous, and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.”

Trump responded at a press conference in North Dakota: “When you rattle someone, that’s good. If they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing … not a bad thing.”

Obama acknowledged that it would “absolutely” be nice if the Democrats were “immediately unified and singing ‘Kumbaya,’ and whoever the nominee ended up being could just take a nice two-week vacation to recharge.”

“One of the things I’ve always found is that it’s a lot more draining arguing against your friends than it is arguing against your political opponents,” he said in reference to the ongoing battle between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It just — it weighs on you more. Being criticized by folks who are in your own party always hurts just a little bit more.”