The billionaire real estate mogul and television personality has aroused controversy with his provocative remarks on illegal immigration. He has promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States.
Obama said Trump had tapped into something that "exists in the Republican Party that's real. I think there is genuine anti-immigrant sentiment in the large portion of at least Republican primary voters."
"He is, you know, the classic reality TV character," the Democratic president said, adding it was not surprising Trump had received a lot of attention in the campaign's early stages.
Asked if he thought Trump would eventually disappear from the race, Obama replied: "I'll leave it up to the pundits to make that determination. I don't think he'll end up being president of the United States."
Obama also said in the interview that he did not know about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was his secretary of state but that it did not pose a national security problem.