A new book by a longtime adviser to Barack Obama gives a rare glimpse into the former US president’s reaction to the election of his successor Donald Trump, as well as those of other foreign leaders.
Obama expressed concern by calling Trump a “cartoon” and saying: “We’re about to find out just how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world.”
Immediately after the election Obama tried to cheer up his staff, Benjamin Rhodes, author of the book said, sending his advisor a message reading, “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.”
Inside the new memoir, titled “The World as It Is,” excerpted by New York Times, Trump’s victory also led Obama to question his own legacy, according to Rhodes, wondering whether “we pushed too far” in promoting globalism and asking “What if we were wrong?”
According to the book, on a trip to Peru just a few weeks after the election, Obama said he felt he might have misjudged the American people, who twice elected him but sharply rejected his would-be successor, Hillary Clinton.
“What if we were wrong?” Obama asked. “Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told Obama that she felt more obliged to run for another term in order to defend the liberal international order, Benjamin Rhodes writes in his book The World As It Is, excerpts of which were published by the New York Times on Wednesday.
Merkel had a tear in her eye when she parted from Obama for the final time, Rhodes said, quoting Obama as noting, “She’s all alone.”
Rhodes also describes Obama’s first meeting with Trump at the White House following the November 2016 election, at which Trump kept steering the conversation to the size of his rallies and pointing out that the two men could draw bigger crowds than Clinton.
Rhodes was Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications
The book will be published on Tuesday