WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary denunciation of Donald J. Trump’s temperament and competence, President Obama urged leaders of the Republican Party on Tuesday to withdraw their endorsements of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, flatly calling him “unfit to serve” as the nation’s 45th president.
Speaking in the East Room of the White House while Mr. Trump rallied supporters in a nearby Virginia suburb, the president noted the Republican criticism of Mr. Trump for his attacks on the Muslim parents of an American soldier, Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq.
But Mr. Obama said the political recriminations from Republicans “ring hollow” if the party’s leaders continue to support Mr. Trump’s campaign.
“The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Mr. Obama said. “What does this say about your party that this is your standard-bearer?”
The president’s condemnation of Mr. Trump, and his direct appeal to Republicans to abandon their candidate, were stunning even in a city where politics has become a brutal and personal affair. Mr. Obama seemed eager to go beyond his past interventions in the race, which have included forceful rejections of Mr. Trump’s statements and policy proposals.