Clouds. 40.9   F New York
AI-Powered News Summarizer
Top Stories

Obama memoir confronts role his presidency played in Republican obstructionism and Trump's rise

November 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Barack Obama directly confronts the racist politics of President Donald Trump in the first volume of his post-presidency memoir, bluntly suggesting how he believes his historic election in 2008 opened a wave of bitter and divisive turmoil that fueled Republicans' obstructionism and ultimately changed the party, according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN.

Washington (CNN)Barack Obama directly confronts the racist politics of President Donald Trump in the first volume of his post-presidency memoir, bluntly suggesting how he believes his historic election in 2008 opened a wave of bitter and divisive turmoil that fueled Republicans' obstructionism and ultimately changed the party, according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN.

"It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted," Obama writes.

"Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party -- xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks -- were finding their way to center stage," Obama writes

The timeliest reflections, however, come when Obama delves into the politics of Washington, particularly the work he put into negotiations with Republicans like Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and then House Speaker John Boehner.

But that introspection also offers a window into how Obama saw the opposing party change from his 2008 campaign to when he handed over the White House to Trump in 2017.

Obama writes that he "wonder(s) sometimes" about whether 2008 Republican nominee John McCain would still have picked Palin if he had known "her spectacular rise and her validation as a candidate would provide a template for future politicians, shifting his party's center and the country's politics overall in a direction he abhorred. "

But Obama writes he came to regard Trump's media ubiquity and characteristic shamelessness as merely an exaggerated version of the Republican Party's attempts to appeal to White Americans' anxieties about the first Black president -- a sentiment he said "had migrated from the fringe of GOP politics to the center -- an emotional, almost visceral, reaction to my presidency, distinct from any differences in policy or ideology.

When Obama, against the advice of his advisers, released his long-form birth certificate during an appearance in the White House briefing room, he said he told young staffers afterward: "We're better than this. "

Domestically, too, Obama writes that the more confrontational Republican Party impacted some of the day-to-day decisions he made as president, especially when it came to dispatching then vice president Joe Biden, now the President-elect, to Capitol Hill to negotiate on his behalf.

"One of the reasons I'd chosen Joe to act as an intermediary -- in addition to his Sente experience and legislative acumen -- was my awareness that in McConnell's mind, negotiations with the vice president didn't inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperation with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do," Obama writes.

Despite writing the book before the 2020 election, there are clear echoes between the moments Obama describes and this current moment of political upheaval, especially when the former president describes his interactions with Biden, the President-elect.

Summarizer is on Google News. Now you can get the latest AI summarized news on your favorite news platform.

Don't like Google News? We have an RSS Feed for you.

Suggestions