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Obama: World leaders ‘rattled’ by ‘ignorant’ Trump

Ahead of Hiroshima visit, US president says trip will underline the dangers of warfare and the need to work toward peace

US President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference during the first day of the Group of Seven (G7) summit meetings in Ise Shima, May 26, 2016. AFP /JIM WATSON)
US President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference during the first day of the Group of Seven (G7) summit meetings in Ise Shima, May 26, 2016. AFP /JIM WATSON)

US President Barack Obama on Thursday criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s policy ideas as demonstrating “ignorance” of how the world works.

Trump, the billionaire US real-estate mogul and reality TV star, has dominated headlines since launching his presidential campaign last year with a mix of incendiary comments and policy stances seen as insulting Mexicans, Muslims and women, among others.

“A lot of the proposals that he has made demonstrate either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines,” Obama told reporters on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit.

“They are paying very close attention to this election,” Obama said, referring to other world leaders.

“I think it’s fair to say they are surprised by the Republican nominee,” he added.

“They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements. But they’re rattled by them, and for good reason.”

Trump has also proposed a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, citing fears of jihadist attacks such as those that have occurred in Europe and the US city of San Bernardino.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2016 to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan. (AFP/ Nicholas Kamm)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2016. (AFP/ Nicholas Kamm)

At the sidelines of the G7, Obama also said his historic visit to Hiroshima will underline the dangers of warfare and the need to work toward peace.

“I want to once again underscore the very real risks that are out there and the sense of urgency that we all should have,” he told reporters.

Obama, who will Friday become the only sitting US president ever to visit Hiroshima — the site of the world’s first nuclear bombing — said the August 6, 1945, attack was “an inflection point in modern history.”

“It is something that all of us have had to deal with in one way or another,” he said.

The bombing claimed the lives of 140,000 people, some of whom died immediately in the ball of searing heat, while many succumbed to injuries or radiation-related illnesses in the weeks, months and years afterwards.

The attack is no longer as present in the modern mind as it was during the decades of the Cold War, said Obama.

“But the backdrop of a nuclear event remains something that presses on the back of our imagination.”

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