According to The New York Times’ review of the upcoming memoir by Barack Obama adviser Benjamin Rhodes, the former president struggled with the results of the 2016 presidential election, which ended in victory for Donald Trump.
“What if we were wrong?” Obama asked aides riding with him in the armored presidential limousine. “Maybe we pushed too far,” he added. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”
His aides reassured him that he still would have won another term had he been able to run again. According to the reports, Mr. Obama did not seem convinced.
“Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.
In “The World as It Is,” Rhodes, who served as Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser, wrote that Barack endured a series of emotions following Trump’s election and was shocked that Americans elected a “cartoon.”
“I’ve got the economy set up well for him,” Obama said. “No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon.”
Set to be published next week by Random House, Mr. Rhodes’s memoir explores how Trump’s election shook Obama.
The economy significantly improved under the Obama administration. As noted by cnbc.com, the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in 2009, Obama’s first year in the White House, but it had fallen to 4.7 percent by the time he handed power to Trump. Under Trump, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in its most recent reading, the lowest point since 2000.
After Trump’s election, Obama reportedly said: “We’re about to find out just how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world.”
The day Obama hosted 45 at the White House after the election, Trump kept steering the conversation back to the size of his rallies, noting that he and Mr. Obama could draw big crowds, but Hillary Clinton could not.
Afterward, Obama called a few aides to the Oval Office to reflect on the encounter.
“I’m trying to place him in American history,” he said.
“He peddles” bull, Mr. Rhodes answered. “That character has always been part of the American story. You can see it right back to some of the characters in Huckleberry Finn.”
“Maybe,” Obama answered, “that’s the best we can hope for.”
“The World as It Is” is set for release on June 5.