In his first television interview since the election, former President Barack Obama said he doesn’t take Donald Trump or the outlandish and untrue things he says personally or seriously.
Obama made his comments while speaking with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King. The exchange covered a lot of territory, as does the first volume of his memoir “A Promised Land.”
King said, “Donald Trump often raises eyebrows when he says he’s done more for Black America and people of color than Abraham Lincoln.”
“Yes,” Obama laughed. “Yes, it does raise eyebrows, you are correct!”
“What do you think when you hear that? Do you take that as an insult to you or the work that you’ve done?”
“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,” the former president replied.
King asked Obama why he felt compelled to speak out so forcefully against Trump in the closing weeks of the election.
Obama: “It wasn’t personal.”
King: “You didn’t have an ‘I’ve had it’ moment?”
“The truth is, everything I said, I was just stating facts.”
“But it was out of character for you to speak up, Mr. President, that way.”
“I was not the person who at a White House briefing room, said, ‘Is bleach the way to solve COVID?’ I wasn’t doing a routine. I was repeating words that I heard.”
The former president also said, “It is not my preference to be out there. 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.'”
Obama also discussed what it was like the first time he walked into the Oval Office as president, what it was like to deal with the outright hostility of Republicans in general and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in particular and how he’s adjusted to life after the presidency.
You can watch the entire interview here, courtesy of CBS News.