According to excerpts obtained and published by CNN from the book, which will be published on November 17, Obama directly ties Trump’s victory to racism, something he says had been “lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party” for some time.
“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,” he wrote of his own presidency.
Trump, he asserts, fed into this supposed panic when he began questioning whether the president had been born in the US.
“For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety,” writes Obama.
The former president claims the Republican Party became extreme when Sarah Palin was nominated as vice president for the 2008 presidential race.
“Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party – xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks – were finding their way to center stage,” Obama theorizes.
He praises the late John McCain though, a senator Trump traded barbs with while he was alive. In hindsight, Obama wonders would McCain still have picked Palin as his running mate, a move that resulted in “shifting his party’s center and the country’s politics overall in a direction he abhorred.”
“I’d like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently,” he writes. “I believe he really did put his country first.”
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