Nov 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama addresses Trump transition in first interview since election

Barack Obama.

Screenshot: CBS News

Former President Obama told CBS' "Sunday Morning" that he often does not take President Trump "personally or seriously."

What's new: In his first television interview since the 2020 presidential election, Obama responded to Trump's claim that he has "done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln."

  • "I think it's fair to say that there are many things he says that I do not take personally or seriously — although I think they can often be destructive and harmful," Obama said.

Obama said it "has been disappointing" to see few Republicans stand up to Trump as he refuses to concede the election he lost to President-elect Biden.

  • "But it's been sort of par for the course during these four years. They obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on cause they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days."
  • "But there's damage to this because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it's dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It's a temporary job. We're not above the rules. We're not above the law. That's the essence of our democracy."

The bottom line: Obama defended the times he attacked Trump personally while on the campaign trail for Biden, saying he was simply repeating Trump's words.

  • "I think we were in a circumstance in this election in which certain norms, certain institutional values — that are so extraordinarily important, had been breached. That it was important for me, as somebody who had served in that office, to simply let people know: 'This is not normal.'"
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