Mark Kirk is the Illinois senator poised to lose his seat to Tammy Duckworth this year. Sliming the president as ‘drug dealer in chief’ is a measure of how desperate he feels.

When you’re a Republican running to save your job, it might have seemed like a good idea to jump on the GOP bandwagon and falsely call the administration’s $400 million Iran payment a “ransom” — but it didn’t stop there.

“We can’t have the president of the United States acting like the drug dealer in chief,” Republican Mark Kirk told the editorial board of The State Journal-Register of Springfield.

“Giving clean packs of money to a … state sponsor of terror. Those 500-euro notes will pop up across the Middle East. …. We’re going to see problems in multiple [countries] because of that money given to them.”

Imagine that. Sen. Kirk finds it appropriate to compare the first Black president to a drug dealer. No racist dog-whistle there!

Matt McGrath, Duckworth’s campaign spokesman, said Kirk’s comments were “disgracefully insulting to the president whose Senate seat he now holds.”

“It’s no surprise Mark Kirk is embracing a conspiracy theory first articulated by Donald Trump — one that has already been debunked by numerous fact checkers,” he said.

As we’ve noted before, the $400 million payment to Iran was a settlement to resolve a dispute over an arms deal that occurred in the 1970s. An international court ruled it was their money, and ordered us to give it back.

TJ Helmstetter, DNC spokesperson, responded to Kirk’s comments.

“In calling our first African American president a drug dealer, Mark Kirk has demonstrated that Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric and divisive politics have taken over the entire Republican Party. Kirk has spent millions of dollars trying to distance himself from Trump but it’s clear that the Republican Party has become the party of Trump. Mark Kirk owes the First Family, the people of Illinois, and the American public an apology for his ugly and racially tinged remarks.”

It’s an election year and politicians will indulge in hyperbole. But Kirk’s disgraceful remarks about President Obama are entirely unacceptable.

And hopefully Illinois voters will remind him on Election Day.

UPDATE (8/24/16): At a press conference in Quincy, Illinois, Kirk was asked by KHQA’s Taylor Anderson about his comments. His response: “He does not feel a need to apologize for his statement towards President Obama” because he believes the President’s actions are “distasteful.”