- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2020

Former President Barack Obama, selling his new memoir, sounds like someone who is still unaware that his FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016.

In a book-tour interview with Oprah Winfrey, Mr. Obama says he’s eager for presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden “to re-establish that we don’t use the Justice Department, for example, to go after political enemies.”

Operation Crossfire Hurricane, anyone?

Mr. Obama went on to say that Mr. Biden and presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris will demonstrate in office that “we don’t mingle personal business interests with the business of government.”

Hunter Biden, anyone?

The mutual contempt between Mr. Obama and President Trump, which dates to Mr. Trump’s baseless questioning in 2011 of Mr. Obama’s birth, is evident in the former president’s memoir “A Promised Land,” released Tuesday. Former first lady Michelle Obama also took a whack at Mr. Trump this week, saying his refusal to cooperate on a transition with Mr. Biden is putting “our country’s health and security in danger.”

Volume One of “A Promised Land,” four years in the making, has landed with a thud at a whopping 768 pages. Nobody knows when Volume Two will hit shelves, but the timing of Volume One’s release suggests that Mr. Obama’s sequel also will steal the spotlight from Mr. Biden.

The Obamas were paid $65 million for their memoirs as a package deal with Crown, a Penguin Random House imprint. The former president’s first volume is selling for $45 a copy.

The nation’s first Black president describes a racist backlash from some Republicans after his election victory. He writes that Mr. Trump’s presidency became possible because millions of Americans were alarmed by having a Black president, and he says Mr. Trump’s “birther” movement leadership cemented his popularity with the GOP base.

“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,” Mr. Obama writes. “Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety.”

The White House had no comment Tuesday on Mr. Obama’s book. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota said Mr. Obama is peddling “a ridiculous message.”

“Obama had 8 years, including 2 with full control of Congress,” she tweeted. “He sent our jobs to China, left our healthcare system in disarray, our foreign policy in shambles & our people divided. Instead of blaming Trump, Obama should consider what led to 2016.”

Mr. Obama also says he chose Mr. Biden as his running mate in 2008 partly because he believed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would feel that “negotiations with the vice president didn’t inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperation with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do.”

He also blames former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP nominee for vice president in 2008, for what he called normalizing racist attitudes toward his presidency.

“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,” Mr. Obama wrote.

Mrs. Palin said that Mr. Obama’s comments show that he still doesn’t understand the tea party movement that rose up against him in the 2010 midterm elections.

“It’s kind of pleasurable to know that I’ve been living rent-free in his head for 12 years,” she told Newsmax. “The movement that he still cannot accept nor understand … that movement was all about giving the voiceless a voice, empowering people who are fed up, want accountability in their government, want a smaller, smarter government, things that he just hasn’t been able to grasp.”

Mr. Obama describes Mr. Trump, at his core, as “a TV personality who marketed himself and his brand as the pinnacle of capitalist success and gaudy consumption.”

The former president also asserts that in 2010, Mr. Trump called senior Obama adviser David Axelrod to suggest that he be put in charge of capping the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Trump also allegedly offered to build “a beautiful ballroom” at the White House.

Both of his offers were rejected.

Mrs. Obama, in an Instagram post, criticized Mr. Trump for refusing to concede the election to Mr. Biden.

“The presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party,” she said. “To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories — whether for personal or political gain — is to put our country’s health and security in danger. This isn’t a game.”

She urged “all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.”

Mrs. Obama said she was “hurt and disappointed” when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Mr. Trump.

She said she and Mr. Obama nevertheless prepared for a smooth transition of power to Mr. Trump. Mrs. Obama said “none of this was easy for me,” saying that “Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger.”

Her husband said their marriage went through “rough patches” during his eight years in office.

“Michelle herself was under constant scrutiny,” Mr. Obama said. “Because my presidency corresponded with the explosion of social media, she was subjected, and sometimes our kids were subjected, and I obviously was constantly subjected, to the kinds of commentary that didn’t affect me as much [as it] had more of an effect on her.”

“And so all those things I think added up — particularly since she wasn’t the one who chose this life,” Mr. Obama said.

In a tweet last August, Mr. Trump responded to Mrs. Obama’s ongoing criticisms of him.

“Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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