Trump has long claimed that Obama and members of his administration need to be indicted for allegedly undermining his presidency from the outset. In a recent tweet, for instance, Trump accused Obama and his allies of “spying” on his campaign, suggesting that they are guilty of “treason,” which is a high crime punishable by death.
Speaking with his former adviser Tommy Vietor, who is one of the hosts of the podcast, Obama said that even Trump’s allies tend to avoid addressing his attacks on other politicians and public figures, dodging questions about them from members of the media.
“This is something that even his, you know, his fellow Republicans tend to just pretend doesn’t happen,” Obama said, noting that Attorney General William Barr and various congressional committees have rejected Trump’s claims as baseless.
Obama suggested that Trump’s attacks show that he is trying to politicize the criminal justice system.
“That is stuff that you keep out of politics right now,” he argued, noting that his successor has used similarly “inflammatory” language to attack former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Obama said that he is “not surprised” that Trump’s attacks have continued, but noted that he is “disappointed that Republicans who know better have not checked him on this.”
He concluded that it remains to be seen whether Republicans will change their behavior if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the presidency because they have failed to stand up to the current commander-in-chief.
“And I think on a very important question after the election, even if it goes well with Joe Biden, is whether you start seeing the Republican Party restore some sense of ‘here are norms that we can’t breach’ because he’s breached all of them and they have not said to him, ‘this is too far.'”
Elsewhere in the interview, Obama took aim at Trump’s foreign policy, accusing him of trying to “decimate” American institutions. He said that the commander-in-chief has purged competent officials and experts from the State Department, appointing loyalists who align with him ideologically.
Obama also said that Biden will have to “rebuild” the State Department if he wins the presidency, saying that his former vice president would listen to experts and engage in diplomacy.
With less than a month until Election Day, Biden is a clear favorite to win. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polling data, Trump is trailing him by 9.2 percentage points nationwide.