On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama lashed out at Donald Trump as he prepared to boost Joe Biden’s bid for the White House.
In an interview on the liberal “Pod Save America” podcast, Obama blasted his successor for constantly spreading misinformation.
“Trump is a symptom of misinformation and an accelerant to it,” he said. “When you look at insane conspiracy theories like QAnon seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party, what that tells you is that there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem.” (QAnon followers believe that Trump is battling a clique of “deep state” saboteur who worship Satan and traffic children for sex.)
The interview comes after Obama reportedly plotted to swing through key states like Florida and Wisconsin to make a closing argument for Joe Biden before the election. It also represents the latest instance of him upping his delivery against Trump. In recent months, Obama has issued warnings about Trump’s leadership in a strong Democratic National Convention speech and slammed Trump in campaign ads.
The theme of Obama’s interview was his disappointment in Trump’s continuing push on unfounded conspiracy theories and his anger with the Republicans for not distancing themselves from the outrageous claims.
Obama told his former aides, Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor that he was appalled that the Republicans didn’t call Trump out last week for pressuring the Justice Department to go after him and Biden. He said, “The allegations are so absurd that even Republican-controlled committees looking into it have dismissed them. And Attorney General Barr has dismissed them.” He added, “I’m disappointed that Republicans who know better have not checked him on this.”
The Trump campaign has yet to comment.
Obama additionally criticized conservative media for expanding partisanship. He argued that the approach benefited Trump at the detriment of his party. He said, “Trump is expressing or mirroring and, in some ways, explicitly exploiting and took on the crazy that was being pumped out through these venues each and every day.” He added, “If that stuff is still being pumped out and Trump goes away, someone else will meet that market demand. But on the other hand, do I think that is inevitably what the Republican Party has to be? No, I don’t think it does.”
Trump’s first conspiracy attack was the false claim that Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Obama said that he noticed in research for his upcoming memoir, “A Promised Land,” that Trump had complimented him the first few years he was in office, even went so far as to say the Obama was doing “a great job.”
Obama claims that this is when things changed, and the birtherism conspiracy surfaced, which launched Trump’s long effort to undermine the nation’s first Black president.
He said, “The guy just decided he wanted attention, like whether it was to promote ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ or whatever, he sort of looked and saw what was being said.” He added, “and he said, ‘Oh, if that’s what folks want, I can do that with even less inhibition. … I don’t need a dog whistle, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.’”
Barack also took a jab at Trump’s foreign policy, saying that he lacks the patience and focus to do the job. He said, “Over the last four years, it’s not as if Trump has been all that active internationally. I mean, the truth is he doesn’t have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of U.S. foreign policy.” He added, “What he’s done is he’s systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure.”