Former President Barack Obama said the Republican establishment has been “cowed into accepting” a series of dangerous attitudes leveraged during Donald Trump’s presidency that would have been “unrecognizable” five to 10 years ago in an interview that aired Monday.
“We have to worry, when one of our major political parties is willing to embrace a way of thinking about our democracy that would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago,” Obama told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, citing an increasingly dark turn of the GOP.
Obama highlighted the Jan. 6 Capitol attack which coincided with the decision by over a hundred lawmakers to vote against validating Biden’s electoral victory in some states, as part of a misguided movement by “large portions of an elected Congress going along with the falsehood that there were problems with the election.”
Former President Obama says he expected more in the GOP to stand up to Trump and his falsehoods about the election: "I didn’t expect that there would be so few people who would say, 'Well, I don’t mind losing my office because this is too important. America is too important'" pic.twitter.com/8y1pm43XLj
— CNN (@CNN) June 8, 2021
The interview aired just two days after Trump took steps in North Carolina to suggest that he has sought to save democracy in spite of his well-documented efforts to overturn the will of voters in battleground states in last year’s election.
“I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I’m the one that’s trying to save it,” Trump said.
During the CNN interview, Obama pointed at efforts by Republican lawmakers who had briefly challenged Trump over his role in stirring up the Capitol attack that he said had been largely short lived.
“Poof, suddenly everybody was back in line,” Obama said, referring to flip-flops from GOP leadership within days of the attack. “Now, the reason for that is because the base believed it and the base believed it because this had been told to them not just by the President, but by the media that they watch.”
He later added: “My hope is that the tides will turn. But that does require each of us to understand that this experiment in democracy is not self-executing. It doesn’t happen just automatically.”