Obama on bipartisanship: 'There is a way to reach out and not be a sap'

Obama on bipartisanship: 'There is a way to reach out and not be a sap'
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Former President Obama said in an NPR interview aired Monday that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries MORE will have to reach across the aisle and pursue “bipartisan cooperation,” despite GOP-led efforts to delegitimize his election.

Obama has been sitting down for a series of interviews recently to promote his new autobiography, “A Promised Land,” and has begun to share his personal thoughts on the state of the U.S. government and Trump’s work for the first time since leaving office.

“For all the differences that I had with George W. Bush, he and his administration could not have been more gracious and effective in working with us to facilitate a smooth transition,” said Obama when speaking about the transition process which Trump’s administration has continued to impede.


Commenting on Trump’s refusal to concede, Obama said, “I take it seriously, I don't think he'll be successful in denying reality. And you're starting to see a few Republican elected officials go ahead and say, ‘Look, Joe Biden has been elected, and we need to move on in the transition.’”

Obama expressed disappointment that more GOP leaders have not come out in support of the election results so far, stressing the little amount of time there is to waste when the country is still in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis. 

According to Obama, bipartisan cooperation will be needed especially as it appears neither side will have an overwhelming majority in the Senate.

“I think that there is a way to reach out and not be a sap. There is a way of consistently offering the possibility of cooperation. But recognizing that if [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham calls on Schumer to hold vote to dismiss article of impeachment against Trump Rove: Chances of conviction rise if Giuliani represents Trump in Senate impeachment trial Boebert communications director resigns amid Capitol riot: report MORE [R-Ky.] or others are refusing to cooperate, at some point, you've got to take it to the court of public opinion,” he said. 

Looking back at his time in office, Obama said McConnell and former Speaker of the House John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCan the GOP break its addiction to show biz? House conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney Ex-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: 'The GOP must awaken' MORE were too often rewarded for their "obstructionist strategy" by the voters.

One of his regrets, he says, is that he did not sell the policies enough to his colleagues, believing his policies would receive support based on their merit alone. Reflecting on this, he offers one piece of advice to Biden telling him to "constantly market and explain what you are doing."