Even though the US presidential race has been called for Joe Biden by several media houses, Trump has refused to concede, making Biden’s transition even harder.
Both candidates got over 70million votes, and to Obama, the first and only Black president of the US, says it shows just how deeply divided the country is.
“What it says is that we are still deeply divided. The power of that alternative worldview that’s presented in the media that those voters consume — it carries a lot of weight,” Obama told CBS News’ Gayle King in an interview that aired on CBS .
Asked by King if that worries him, the former President responded, “Yes. It’s very hard for our democracy to function if we are operating on just completely different sets of facts.”
Obama has done a series of interviews before he releases the first volume of his memoir, “A Promised Land,” which will be available November 17.
Obama, in the CBS interview defended his active campaigning for President-elect Joe Biden, his former vice president, saying circumstances warranted his public criticism of his successor, something that former presidents don’t do.
“It is not my preference to be out there,” he told King.
“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.'”
The formal transition between the Trump administration and the incoming Biden-Harris administration is likely to remain on hold until the election is certified by a Trump appointee within the General Services Administration in a process known as ascertainment.
During a separate interview with CBS’ Scott Pelley that aired Sunday evening on “60 Minutes,” Obama slammed Republican officials for backing the President’s false claims of election fraud sayinh the allegations endangered democracy.
“We would never accept that out of our own kids behaving that way if they lost, right? I mean, if my daughters — in any kind of competition — pouted and — and then accused the other side of cheating when they lost, when there was no evidence of it, we’d scold ’em,” Obama said.
Presidents, he maintained, are “temporary occupants of the office, by design.”
“And when your time is up then it is your job to put the country first and think beyond your own ego, and your own interests, and your own disappointments,” Obama said.
“My advice to President Trump is, if you want at this late stage in the game to be remembered as somebody who put country first it’s time for you to do the same thing.”
Speaking on the importance of a peaceful transition with Gayle King, Obama similarly said that “it’s a temporary job. We’re not above the rules. We’re not above the law. That’s the essence of our democracy.”
Asked what advice he would give Biden, Obama pledged to help him in “any ways that I can.”
“I’m not planning to suddenly work on the White House staff or something … Michelle would leave me,” he joked of the former first lady.
“She’d be like what? You’re doing what?”
Although, Trump has frequently attacked Obama, Obama says he does not take them seriously.
“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 told King.