WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama told Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to "stop whining" with patently false claims of rigged elections while addressing the public Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Obama brushed off Trump's assertions that if he loses the race for the White House in November it will likely be because of voter fraud. Trump has ramped up his claims in the days since a 2005 "Access Hollywood" video of the GOP presidential hopeful speaking in a vulgar way about women sent his campaign careening.
"The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places," Trump wrote Sunday in a Tweet. "SAD."
"I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit elections and the elections process before even elections have taken place," Obama said Tuesday in response to questions from reporters. "It's unprecedented."
He implied that Trump was "whining" because of his slipping poll numbers.
"That doesn't really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you want out of a president," Obama said. "He started whining before the game's even over. If whenever things are going badly for you and you lose you start blaming somebody else, then you don't have what it takes to be in this job."
Trump took to Twitter on Monday to reinforce his claims, writing that the Republican establishment was ignoring that "Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day."
PolitiFact gave the statement its "pants on fire" rating, meaning it has no basis in fact.
"The larger point I want to emphasize is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections," Obama said, pointing at how decentralized the process is and the sheer number of votes involved.
"There's no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that would happen this time. And so, I would advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go make his case to try to get votes," Obama said.
Trump did not immediately respond to the comments.