In his third memoir, former President Barack Obama is taking readers through his time in the White House and afterward, writing about the rise of former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and President Donald Trump.
The 768-page-long text was obtained by CNN and is titled, “A Promised Land.” It will be released on November 17.
The 44th president writes, “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.”
He continues, “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.”
Obama adds that while he first saw Trump’s brash style as a joke, he later realized that it was a brash set of opinions which “had migrated from the fringe of GOP politics to the center — an emotional, almost visceral, reaction to my presidency, distinct from any differences in policy or ideology.”
The former president traces that evolution of the Republican Party through 2008 and vice presidential nominee Palin.
He writes, “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.”
But Obama does not blame the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — 2008 Republican nominee — for putting Palin on his ticket, writing, “I’d like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently.” Obama praises McCain as a man who “put his country first.”
He also says that he saw President-elect Joe Biden as an “intermediary” to Republicans on Capitol Hill. Obama writes, “In addition to [Biden’s] Senate experience and legislative acumen — was my awareness that in McConnell’s mind, 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.”
Obama also praises the way that he was treated by former President George W. Bush, writing, “President Bush would end up doing all he could to make the 11 weeks between my election and his departure go smoothly … I promised myself that when the time came, I would treat my successor the same way.”