President Barack Obama is warning that the "vulgar and divisive" presidential campaign is damaging the country's reputation abroad.
Addressing Congress and guests including the Irish prime minister in his early St. Patrick's Day address, Obama said he was more than a little "dismayed" at the brash and aggressive style of campaigning with their controversial proposals comments, mainly by outspoken Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
"I know that I'm not the only one in this room who may be more than a little dismayed about what's happening on the campaign trail lately," Obama told the audience at the Friends of Ireland luncheon on Tuesday, according to a transcript of the speech on the White House website..
"We have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities — at Americans who don't look like 'us,' or pray like 'us,' or vote like we do. We've seen misguided attempts to shut down that speech, however offensive it may be. We live in a country where free speech is one of the most important rights that we hold," he said.
"In response to those attempts, we've seen actual violence, and we've heard silence from too many of our leaders," he added.