Former U.S. president Barack Obama says the most important problem for president-elect Joe Biden will likely be to bridge the gulf that exists within the nation and convey collectively a vastly polarized populace.
“You’ve seen growing divisions, some of which are deeply rooted in questions of race and gender and date back to the founding of this country, some of which are a result of a changing economy,” Obama instructed CBC Radio’s The Current in a Canadian unique interview that can air on CBC Radio Monday morning.
Obama mentioned Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris would “set a different tone” from that of the Trump administration however will face a divided nation, one the place greater than 73 million individuals voted for Trump and a few nonetheless assist the present president’s refusal to concede.
Obama served because the 44th president of the United States from 2008 till Trump’s upset victory in 2016. His new ebook, A Promised Land, printed final Wednesday, charts his rise in politics as much as the primary two and a half years of his two-term presidency.
The ebook, the primary of a two-volume memoir of his presidency, broke data, promoting almost 890,000 copies within the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours.
- Listen to the complete interview on The Current on CBC Radio One, Monday at 8:37 a.m., on-line or on the CBC Listen app.
Obama instructed The Current‘s host, Matt Galloway, that therapeutic divisions will likely be particularly difficult for a Democratic president as a result of the “splintering of media has created a big ecosystem of conservative media that is very hard to penetrate.”
“If that’s your source of what’s happening in the outside world, then you would think that Donald Trump has not only done great work as president, but you would think that he’s justified in taking the positions he’s taking,” Obama mentioned.
He warned that it is vital for Democrats to attempt to perceive why individuals voted for Trump, as a result of will probably be “hard to get big stuff done if the country is this polarised.”
“How we bridge that gap between those who have strongly opposed this president and those who still support him is going to be a big challenge,” he mentioned.
“There are all kinds of ways in which a determined opposition can block everything, not just some things. So, I think Joe is going to have to try to arrive at areas of potential compromise.”
WATCH | Biden should faucet into ‘areas of potential compromise’:
Failure to steer
When requested whether or not he, because the nation’s first Black president, noticed his successor, Donald Trump, as racist, Obama mentioned what’s vital is that Trump was “more than happy to fan racist sentiments” throughout his 4 years in workplace. Whether or not he personally believed that rhetoric would not matter, he mentioned.
“I’m not interested in what’s in his heart. I’m interested in what he does,” Obama mentioned.
“Whether he’s cynically riding that wave to achieve his ends or whether it taps into something he actually believes, here’s what I can say for certain: that he does not consider it his job to fight against racist sentiments.
“That, to me, is a failure of any chief.”
He said during Trump’s time in office, rhetoric that had been relegated to the fringes of the Republican Party moved “entrance and centre.”
“This concern of the opposite, this suggestion that in some way there’s actual Americans after which there are individuals who, I suppose, are faux Americans,” he said.
“And in some way, the faux Americans are likely to appear to be me.”
WATCH | Trump ‘more than happy to fan racist sentiments’: Obama
Advice from the sidelines
Four years after he left workplace, Obama mentioned he misses the camaraderie, the crew work and “mental exercise of figuring out hard policy problems” — however not the pomp of the presidency.
Someone as soon as requested him if he would serve a 3rd time period if he may.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be out front,” he mentioned.
“But if somebody had said, you can sit in your basement in your sweats, and there’s somebody else who’s playing the president with a microphone in his or her ear, and you can just kind of give suggestions and policy — then I might have enjoyed doing that.”
WATCH | What Obama misses concerning the presidency: