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Former President Obama warned that global rivals of the United States are closely watching the rocky presidential transition and President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.

“I think our adversaries have seen us weakened,” Obama said during an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. “Not just as a consequence of this election, but over the last several years.”

Obama warned that nations like Russia and China see opportunity to undermine America in “cleavages in the body politic that they are convinced they can exploit.” 

The former president said he has always believed the adage that “partisan politics should stop at the water’s edge” and America’s political leaders should seek to portray the country on the world stage as “the United States of America, not the divided states of America.” 

During the wide-ranging interview, Obama reflected on his time in office and promoted his upcoming memoir, “A Promised Land,” in which he reveals his internal struggles leading the country out of a financial crisis, through deadlock in Congress and other issues. 

Obama, who was hesitant to criticize Trump until the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign as he stumped for Biden, said he does not blame Trump for the sharp political divide in America but called him “an accelerant.” 

He added that Trump has ignored “a whole host of norms” when it comes to building public trust in the government and has cast doubt on the integrity of the country’s founding institutions.

Since Biden was projected as the winner of the presidential race last week, Trump has refused to concede, alleging that widespread voter fraud led to a massive amount of ballots being cast against him. 

He and his campaign have accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the election from him, despite a lack of evidence. 

Obama said Trump’s posture on the election’s result and the reaction to it by congressional Republicans will have lasting consequences. 

“It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration,” Obama said, “but democracy generally.” 

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden

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