Former United States President Barack Obama criticised President Donald Trump’s refusal to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team as “distressing” and said Trump’s “petulance” is having a negative impact, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a pair of interviews to promote his new memoir, A Promised Land, Obama talked about how this hindered handoff between Trump and Biden is, in his opinion, enormously problematic.
“I’m distressed that you haven’t seen more Republican leadership make this clear because the amount of time that’s being lost in this transition process has real-world effects,” Obama told the US news outlet National Public Radio. “Look, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re in the middle of an economic crisis. We have serious national security issues.”
“And so, it is yet one more example of how Donald Trump’s breach of basic democratic norms is hurting the American people.”
Barack Obama tells NPR that Trump is "denying reality" by not conceding, calling it a "breach of basic democratic norms." https://t.co/09SkptO64M
— NPR (@NPR) November 16, 2020
Obama went on to describe the presidential transition following his election in 2008, telling the magazine The Atlantic, “For all the differences between myself and George W Bush, he and his administration could not have been more gracious and intentional about ensuring a smooth handoff.
“One of the really distressing things about the current situation is the amount of time that is being lost because of Donald Trump’s petulance and the unwillingness of other Republicans to call him on it.”
2/6 On the state of our nation: “One of the really distressing things about the current situation is the amount of time that is being lost because of Donald Trump’s petulance and the unwillingness of other Republicans to call him on it.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) November 15, 2020
The former president lamented the political fissures in the US, telling National Public Radio that part of the politicisation is due to how Americans are getting their information.
“If you watch Fox News, you perceive a different reality than if you read The New York Times and that didn’t use to be as stark because you had local newspapers and you had people overlapping in terms of where they got information.
“But now, partly because of social media and sort of the echo chamber, a lot of the people who voted for Donald Trump do not believe that in fact COVID was mishandled, contrary to the facts that now you or I might assert, those aren’t the facts that they accept. And I think that until we can start having a common baseline of facts from which to discuss the direction of the country, we’re going to continue to have some of these issues,” he said.
The former president also said he cannot comprehend how voters, even those who are aggrieved about their place in society, could support someone who behaves like Trump.
“I think about the classic male hero in American culture when you and I were growing up: the John Waynes, the Gary Coopers, the Jimmy Stewarts, the Clint Eastwoods, for that matter. There was a code … the code of masculinity that I grew up with that harkens back to the ’30s and ’40s and before that. There’s a notion that a man is true to his word, that he takes responsibility, that he doesn’t complain, that he isn’t a bully — in fact he defends the vulnerable against bullies,” Obama said in his conversation with The Atlantic.
“And so even if you are someone who is annoyed by wokeness and political correctness and wants men to be men again and is tired about everyone complaining about the patriarchy, I thought that the model wouldn’t be Richie Rich — the complaining, lying, doesn’t-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure.”