Obama asked ‘what if we were wrong?’ after Trump’s election

Leroy Wright
June 2, 2018

Obama's longtime adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes is releasing a memoir next week called "The World as It Is" that offers insight from the frontlines at the White House during Obama's eight years in office, reports the New York Times.

Finally, Rhodes notes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the former President that the results of the American election and the disdain the Trump had expressed throughout the campaign made her feel more obligated to run for another term if only to have the chance to have a voice in an global order that Trump was threatening to significantly disrupt. When she left Obama for the last time, she "had a single tear in her eye".

It notes, for instance, that Obama did his best to cheer up his aides in the days following the election. "Maybe we pushed too far", he added.

Obama expressed concern by calling Trump a "cartoon" and saying: "We're about to find out just how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world".

Set to be published next week by Random House, Mr. Rhodes's memoir explores how Trump's election shook Obama.

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Obama even referenced The Godfather movie franchise, comparing himself to actor Al Pacino's turbulent and conflicted main character in light of Trump appearing poised to undo much of what Obama had accomplished over his eight years in office.

The memoir shows that Obama was not immune to the collective shock that had followed Trump's election. While Obama may have underestimated just how tribalistic the country had become during his presidency, and the role he may have played in it, the idea that most people bought into the vision of America that Trump promoted is also unsupported by the data. The conversation would have taken place as Trump was taking centre stage in the presidential campaign, and it is claimed Obama responded: "Not really ..."

Obama had authorized a statement from intelligence agency leaders a month before the election warning of Russian interference, but the then-president was thwarted from doing more because Republican Senator Mitch McConnell refused to go along with a bipartisan statement on the issue. "She's all alone", Obama noted.

Rhodes further writes that the U.S. president was shaken "more than the decision by voters to replace him with a candidate who had questioned his very birth". BoJo accused Obama of removing a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, attributing the move to "the part-Kenyan president's ancestral dislike of the British Empire - of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender".

"Maybe", Obama answered, "that's the best we can hope for".

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