NEW YORK - US President Barack Obama called Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump a “classic reality TV character” who has tapped into a “genuine anti-immigrant sentiment” among many voters in his party - but he doesn’t think that will carry the billionaire businessman to the White House as his replacement. 

During a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on CBS “60 minutes” programme, Obama also said that while Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, “made a mistake” by using a private email server while she was the secretary of state in his cabinet, the move did not pose a national security threat. CBS anchor asked Obama, what he thinks of Trump, who has surprised pundits by leading his Republican rivals. “I think that he is a great publicity seeker at a time when the Republican Party hasn’t really figured out what it’s for as opposed to what it’s against,” Obama said.

“I think that he has tapped into something that exists in the Republican Party that’s real. I think there is genuine anti-immigrant sentiment in a large portion of at least Republican primary voters. I don’t think it’s uniform.

“He knows how to get attention,” the president added about Trump, a real estate mogul who used to star in his own reality television show, “The Apprentice.” “He is, you know, the classic reality TV character. And at this early stage it’s not surprising that he’s gotten a lot of attention.”

Trump has drawn controversy for his strong rhetoric against illegal immigration, at one point saying “rapists” and “criminals” were entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico. He has called for deporting the more than 11 million immigrants living without authorization in the U.S. and for building a wall across America’s border with Mexico. Trump also said he will allow the “good” immigrants who are deported to return to the U.S. in an “expedited” fashion.

Asked if Trump’s surge in the race appears to be waning, Obama said: “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,” he added.

Later Sunday night, Trump took to Twitter to respond to Obama’s interview, criticizing the president that his “definition of leadership would be leading on climate change.” 

“Well, I watched his (the president’s) performance last night and I thought it was terrible. I thought it was sad because everything’s negative. It’s nothing positive,” Trump told Fox News on Monday morning.

Trump got 27 percent support nationally from Republican primary voters in the latest CBS News poll, with neurosurgeon Ben Carson coming in second with 21 percent.

The president also weighed in on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as his secretary of state. He said he didn’t know about it. “I don’t think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged,” he said. “As a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data.”

He did say the attention on Clinton’s server was “ part because of politics. And I think she’d be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly.” It’s a legitimate issue, he added, but “the fact that for the last three months this is all that’s been spoken about is an indication that we’re in presidential political season.” I do think that the way it’s been ginned-up is in part because of— in part— because of politics.

When interviewer Steve Kroft asked about the fact that the administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers, the president said, “There’s no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don’t get an impression that here there was purposely efforts to hide something or to squirrel away information.”

On another potential challenger for Clinton - Vice President Joe Biden - the president said he’s “going to let Joe make that decision.” But he had plenty of praise for his number two, saying, “I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential...I don’t think there’s any politician at a national level that has not thought about being the president. And if you’re sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know wrestling with these issues, I’m sure that for him he’s saying to himself, ‘I could do a really good job.’”

Asked if he would miss House Speaker John Boehner, who announced his resignation last month, the president noted that he and Boehner “disagreed on just about everything.” But, he added, Boehner “did care about the institution. He recognized that nobody gets 100 percent in our democracy.”

“I won’t say that he and I were ideal partners, but he and I could talk and we could get some things done. And so I am a little concerned that the reason he left was because there are a group of members of Congress who think having somebody who is willing to shut down the government or default on the U.S. debt is going to allow them to get their way 100 percent of the time,” he said.