Barack Obama said part of the reason 73 million Americans voted to re-elect Donald Trump in the election was in part because of messages from Republicans that the country, especially white males, is under attack.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club radio show Wednesday to promote his new memoir A Promised Land, Obama said the Trump administration, which he did not directly name, “ objectively failed miserably , to manage the basic health care of the American people and keep them safe, ”and yet he still got millions of votes.
“What still interests me is the extent to which you have seen the feeling in Republican politics created that white men are victims,” Obama said. “They are the ones being attacked – which obviously does not square with history, the data and the economy. But it’s a sincere belief that’s been internalized, it’s a story being told and how you relax that won’t be something that gets done right away.
Later, one of the show’s hosts, DJ Envy, asked Obama how he responded to criticism from blacks and other communities of color who didn’t think he was doing enough for them as president. .
“I understand that because when I was elected there was so much excitement and hope, and I also think we generally think of the presidency as almost a monarchy in the sense that once the president is there he can just do whatever needs to be done and if he doesn’t, it must be because he didn’t want to do it, ”Obama said.
Envy challenged Obama, saying Trump behaved exactly this way.
“Because he is breaking the laws or breaking the constitution,” Obama said. “The good news for me was that I was very confident in what I had done for black people because I have the statistics to prove it.”
Obama went on to point out how his policies have seen black incomes rise, poverty decline, and access to health care increase.
“The problem is sometimes we just haven’t publicized it, because again, the point here is to build coalitions where everyone gets something so that everyone feels like there is. an interest, ”Obama said. “But a lot of my policies were aimed at the poorest people. These people are disproportionately African-American.
Obama also spoke about the role of the public and Congress in change. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked much of the Obama administration’s efforts in the Republican-controlled Senate during the final years of his presidency.
A similar fate could await President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Obama warned. It is unclear which party will control the Senate until the results of two polls in Georgia slated for Jan.5 are known.
“If Republicans win these two seats, then Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cannot pass a law that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republicans will not accept,” Obama said.
It was one of the only mentions Obama made of the new president, which sparked controversy on social media in May after an interview with the Breakfast Club where he said: “If you have a problem whether you are for me or for Trump, then you are not black.
Later that day, Biden apologized: “No one, no one, should have to vote for a party based on their race, religion, background.”