Obama memoir: ‘Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House’ prompted Trump success
Former President Obama wrote in a new memoir that he believes his presidency unearthed a racist underbelly within the American electorate that contributed to President Trump’s political success.
“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 in the book titled “A Promised Land,” according to CNN. “Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started pedaling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety.”
While Obama was in office, Trump was one of the preeminent promoters of the so-called birther movement, a conspiracy alleging that Obama was born in Kenya and embraced by some members of the Republican Party and in conservative media at the time.
At various points during his first term in office, Trump has been accused by critics of using intentionally divisive rhetoric on race, claiming there were “very fine people on both sides” of a 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Virginia and referring to some Mexicans as “rapists and murders” the day he announced his candidacy for president.
Obama writes in his new book that he struggled watching Turmp’s first term and felt a sense of responsibility for how divided the nation had become and wondered if he could have done more to stop it.
“As far as I was concerned, the election didn’t prove our agenda had been wrong,” Obama wrote. “It just proved that … I’d failed to rally the nation, as FDR had once done, behind what I knew to be right. Which to me was just as damning.”
Obama is set to appear Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” ahead of his book’s publication, his first interview since President-elect Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
In speaking for Biden at the Democratic National Convention earlier this summer, Obama said Biden is the right person to unite the country at a time of racial reckoning in America.
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