WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, who earlier said Donald Trump is “unfit” to be president, on Thursday suggested the Republican nominee could not be trusted with nuclear weapons, needed to be reminded to keep classified briefings secret and was being “ridiculous” when he complained the election is “rigged” against him.

Trump has been saying he is “afraid” the election is going to be rigged as polls in key swing states — New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan — show him behind Democrat Hillary Clinton with national surveys also putting the Clinton-Kaine ticket ahead of Trump-Pence.

At a news conference at the Pentagon on Thursday – Obama was there for briefings with his National Security Council on the fight against ISIL – Obama was asked to pledge the November election will be fair. Moreover, since Obama on Tuesday said Trump was “unfit” to serve, what would he say if Trump won?

OPINION

After the responsible, “And if somebody wins the election, and they are president, then my constitutional responsibility is to peacefully transfer power to that individual and do everything I can to help them succeed,” Obama cut loose.

“I don’t even really know where to start on answering this question. Of course the elections will not be rigged.  What does that mean?  The federal government doesn’t run the election process.  States and cities and communities all across the country, they are the ones who set up the voting systems and the voting booths.

“And if Mr. Trump is suggesting that there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country, including in places like Texas, where typically it’s not Democrats who are in charge of voting booths, that’s ridiculous.  That doesn’t make any sense. And I don’t think anybody would take that seriously.”

Usually, Obama said, people complain about being cheated after they lose.

“But I’ve never heard of somebody complaining about being cheated before the game was over, or before the score is even tallied.  So my suggestion would be go out there and try to win the election. If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election Day and ends up losing, then maybe he can raise some questions.  That doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.”

Then Obama was asked about whether he trusted Trump with nuclear weapons. Since he already deemed him unfit, Obama did not have more to say.

Except to work in an extra dig in his answer.

“I’ll sort of address this to any additional Trump questions — I would ask all of you to just make your own judgment.  I’ve made this point already multiple times.  Just listen to what Mr. Trump has to say and make your own judgment with respect to how confident you feel about his ability to manage things like our nuclear triad.”

Perhaps Obama used the words “nuclear triad” – a reference to launching weapons from the air, land and sea — because Trump seemed to have absolutely no idea what the term meant when he was asked about it at a Republican debate last December.

Asked if he were worried about Trump getting classified information, Obama said, “And I’m not going to go into details of the nature of the security briefings that both candidates receive.  What I will say is that they have been told these are classified briefings.  And if they want to be president, they got to start acting like president, and that means being able to receive these briefings and not spread them around.”

CHECKING IN: ILLINOIS GOP AND TRUMP

No additional Illinois congressional Republicans followed Rep. Adam Kinzinger in pulling away from Trump, a Sun-Times check showed. Kinzinger Wednesday said on CNN, “I just don’t see how I get to Donald Trump anymore.”

Here’s where the delegation stands:

Will not support Trump: Sen. Mark Kirk, who withdrew his backing. Kinzinger, Rep. Bob Dold – who nixed Trump early on.

Will back Trump: Representatives Rodney Davis, John Shimkus, Randy Hultgren, Michael Bost, Darin LaHood. Rep. Peter Roskam told WTTW on July 18, “I’m going to vote for him. I haven’t endorsed him.”

Democrats are using Trump to hit Republicans no matter their stand on him. In the Downstate 12th Congressional District, Democratic contender C.J. Baricevic has slammed Bost for backing Trump in some five press releases in the past week. The Democratic House political shop routinely tried to link Dold – who has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump – to his party’s presidential nominee.