Obama says Republicans ‘humouring’ Trump over election are putting democracy on ‘dangerous path’

Former president says GOP officials ‘know better’

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 13 November 2020 01:02
Obama says Republicans 'humouring' Trump over election are putting democracy on 'dangerous path'

Barack Obama has launched a scathing attack on Republicans “humouring” Donald Trump over his refusal to concede he lost the election, saying they were undermining both the incoming administration and the nation’s democracy. 

In an interview to promote a new memoir, A Promised Land, the former president said Mr Trump’s claims of election fraud appeared “to be motivated, in part because the president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss”.

“I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humouring him in this fashion,” he said.

He added: “It is one more step in delegitimising not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path.”

Five days after the Associated Press called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, and in doing so indicated that the 77-year-old born in Scranton had secured enough electoral votes to become the nation’s 46th president, Mr Trump has only dug his heels in harder, in his insistence that he has been the victim of voter fraud.

Kayleigh McEnany refuses to say whether Biden will receive intelligence briefing

There is no evidence whatsoever of that, according to both Republican and Democratic election officials located across the country.

Some members of the GOP, among them Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, initially supported the president’s legal challenge to the results, saying he was “100 per cent within his rights” to do so.

Slowly, cracks have started to appear. It was reported on Thursday that a majority of Republicans in the Senate believe that at the very least, Mr Biden ought to start receiving the daily classified intelligence briefings made available when a transition is underway.

The New York Times said that while only four Republican senator had publicly congratulated Mr Biden, three had gone on the record to say he should get the briefing. Those were John Thune of South Dakota, Charles Grassley of Iowa, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Meanwhile, Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, told CNN:  “We need to consider the former vice president as the president-elect. Joe Biden is the president-elect.”

The comments published on Thursday were part of an interview Mr Obama has done with CBS’s 60 Minutes to promote his memoir. It is widely expected to be a bestseller when it goes on sale next week.

The former president, and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, received a total of $65m for their memoirs. Mr Obama is also due to speak to Oprah Winfrey for her show The Oprah Conversation, broadcast on Apple TV+.

“This book was worth the wait,” Winfrey said in a statement. “Everybody who reads it is going to be on this journey from the grueling and monotonous grind of the campaign, to taking us inside the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room and the Situation Room and sometimes, even the bedroom.”

Efforts to minimise leaks fell flat after CNN said it had obtained a copy of the memoir, Mr Obama’s third.

Among the details it revealed was Mr Obama’s belief that the so-called Birthism campaign pushed by Mr Trump was a racist response to having a Black president.

“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,” Mr Obama writes.

“Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments