President Barack Obama during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. (Evan Vucci / AP)

Breaking with diplomatic protocol, President Obama lashed out at Republican presidential candidates during an official visit to Ethiopia.

At a news conference Monday, Obama condemned the likes of Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz over what he called “ridiculous” claims about his policies and “outrageous attacks” that crossed the line of political decorum.

From The Guardian:

“Part of what historically has made America great is, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, there’s been a recognition that these issues are too serious, that issues of war and peace of such grave concern and consequence, that we don’t play fast and loose that way,” Obama told reporters.

“We have robust debates, we look at the facts, there are going to be disagreements. But we just don’t fling out ad hominem attacks like that because it doesn’t help inform the American people.”

The outburst was prompted by a question about Mike Huckabee’s claim that the Iran nuclear deal would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”.

But Obama argued the problem was more than just a disagreement over this current deal and singled out similar comments by Arkansas senator Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, the Texas senator and 2016 candidate. “The particular comments of Mr Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” he said.

“We’ve had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for president suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican party.”

Obama also broke his relative silence on Donald Trump, whose outspoken attacks on both the president and more moderate Republicans have dominated the 2016 campaign agenda in recent week.

“When you get rhetoric like this maybe it gets attention, maybe this is just an attempt to push Mr Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed for America right now,” said the president. “I don’t think that’s what anybody – Democrat or Republican or independent – is looking for out of their political leaders.”

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig