Obama tells donors he fears voter suppression, Trump questioning election legitimacy: report
Former President Obama on Tuesday told donors ahead of the 2020 election that his top concerns include voter suppression and President Trump potentially casting doubt on the election’s legitimacy.
At a Tuesday fundraiser with actor George Clooney, Obama named the two potential issues when asked what keeps him up at night, The New York Times reported.
In a separate event with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), Obama warned that the president has cultivated a support base that “filters out any contradictory information.”
“It’s just glued to Fox News and Breitbart and [Rush] Limbaugh and just this conservative echo chamber — and so, they’re going to turn out to vote,” he said, according to the Times.
“What he has unleashed and what he continues to try to tap into is the fears and anger and resentment of people who, in some cases, really are having a tough time and have seen their prospects, or communities where they left, declining,” the former president added.
Obama also reportedly warned against complacency, noting that rhetoric Obama’s audience might find disqualifying might not necessarily doom Trump’s reelection bid.
“We already saw this guy win once,” Obama said. “After he bragged about physically assaulting women — and that didn’t seem to matter. So, enough said. Let’s get to work.”
The report comes as the president has stepped up his attacks on mail-in voting, suggesting in a Thursday morning tweet that the election should be delayed. The authority to delay presidential elections rests solely with Congress.
The former president did not make an endorsement during the Democratic primaries, but has leapt into the fray since Biden became the presumptive nominee. Obama has made several virtual appearances, including a joint appearance with Biden that was the Biden campaign’s biggest fundraising event thus far.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told the Times the virtual events, a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic, have also simplified logistics.
“The virtual context means you don’t have to put him and other surrogates on a plane,” he said. “This just allows him to do more events, more efficiently. That’s been a surprise.”
The Hill has reached out to representatives for Obama for comment.