Obama Responds To Criticism About His Stance On Trump In 60 Minutes Interview

As the presidency of Donald Trump comes to a close, many Americans are taking the opportunity to reflect on just how much has changed over the past four years. Among those Americans is former President Barack Obama, who has mostly kept his thoughts about Trump's presidency to himself. This practice of keeping quiet, at least publicly, has been typical for practically all of the history of the United States, ever since John Adams succeeded George Washington.

The past four years, however, have been anything but typical for reasons far too numerous to list here. Because of these unprecedented times, there are those who have criticized Obama for sticking to tradition. Obama himself has even wondered if he was "too cautious" about criticizing Trump, and when he appeared on 60 Minutes in November 2020, he had to face this question head-on.

Interviewer Scott Pelley told him that there are plenty of Americans who have already made up their mind that Obama was too quiet during the Trump administration. This was his response.

Barack Obama admitted that some of the criticism is fair

While appearing on 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley told former President Barack Obama that many Americans do feel that he was too quiet during the presidency of Donald Trump. "I think that's a legitimate and understandable criticism," Obama began, and then referenced the golden rule. "At the end of the day, I consistently tried to treat political opposition in the ways I'd want to be treated."

Obama's stance stands in stark contrast with the current presidential administration, and it's hard to imagine his successor sticking to the same strategy once President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. "I understand why there were times when my supporters wanted me to be more pugilistic," Obama admitted, but declined to call his position a mistake.

"Every president brings a certain temperament to office," he continued. "I think part of the reason I got elected is because I sent a message that fundamentally I believe the American people are good and decent and that politics doesn't have to be some cage-match in which everybody is going at each other throats." After the past four years, this take feels downright innovative.

Barack Obama believes the effects of Trump's presidency may be tough to outrun

Moving forward, former President Barack Obama added that he thinks it is going to be hard to outrun the effects of Donald Trump's presidency, especially when it comes to transitioning to a new administration come 2021. Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden or even free up funds or facilities that incoming presidents usually receive, per CBS News. Obama is not optimistic about how people are receiving this news worldwide. "I think our adversaries have seen us weakened, not just as a consequence of this election, but over the last several years. We have these cleavages in the body politic that they're convinced they can exploit," he said on 60 Minutes

Obama also believes that Trump has already taken more than enough time to react to the news of the election and that it's time for the president to accept the reality that "there is no scenario in which any of those states would turn the other way, and certainly not enough to reverse the outcome of the election," as Obama put it in the interview.

Former President Obama essentially called Trump a sore loser

Former President Barack Obama told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes that he thinks Donald Trump is impeding democracy by not conceding to President-elect Joe Biden. Obama added in his interview, "a president is a public servant. They 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. 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."

He then compared Trump to a kid who loses at a game and needs to be scolded into not being a sore loser. Obama told Pelley, "The president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss. I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path. We would never accept that out of our own kids behaving that way if they lost, right?"

If many thought that Obama was too quiet for the past four years, he's obviously not worried about speaking his mind now, at the supposed end of the Trump administration.