According to a Sunday New York Times report, the Trump campaign has drawn Obama back into politics in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in custody of Minneapolis police and the current “social and racial awakening opportunity” presented by Trump’s personal animus toward Obama himself.
During a recent virtual meeting, Obama said Trump’s use of “Kung Flu” in reference to the coronavirus “pisses me off,” particularly in light of the Trump administration’s botched pandemic response. The phrase is, according to the dozens of people close to Obama who spoke to the Times, yet another racist quip the president and many of his supporters find humorous.
During the invitation-only Zoom fundraiser last Thursday, Obama reportedly expressed his frustration and anger about the president and his White House surrogates using the terms “Kung Flu” and “China virus” to refer to COVID-19.
“I don’t want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it’s funny. I don’t want that. That still shocks and pisses me off,” Obama said, according to a transcript of his comments provided to the Times.
The news editor of The Root explained to the newspaper the difference between other past presidents and Obama, particularly in regards to the racial divisiveness presented by the Trump administration. “No one is pressuring white ex-presidents like George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter the same way,” said Monique Judge.
Omarosa Manigault Newman, one of only a few black ex-White House officials under Trump and a former contestant on The Apprentice, told the Times that Trump’s vendetta against Obama seeks to erase him entirely. “This is personal for Trump; it is all about President Obama and demolishing his legacy. It’s his obsession,” she said. “President Obama will not be able to rest as long as Trump is breathing.”
The Times report details how Obama is helping Biden successfully push ahead to defeat Trump – something he’d hoped happened four years ago with fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. However, several former Obama campaign aides told the Times, he is doing so by balancing it with his retirement plans.
“I don’t think he is hesitant. I think he is strategic,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a top Obama adviser for over a decade. “He has always been strategic about using his voice; it’s his most valuable commodity.”
During the 2018 midterm elections, Obama said Trump “is a symptom, not the cause,” of the nasty political rhetoric allowed by his Republican Party enablers.
During a speech at the University of Illinois that fall, Obama said the U.S. needs to form the “antibodies” in order to fight the contagion of “racial nationalism.”
The Times report goes on to say Obama routinely speaks with Biden and his top campaign aides, offering advice like keeping speeches brief, interviews succinct and to reduce the length of all tweets. “Better to make the campaign a referendum on Mr. Trump and the economy,” Democratic officials told the newspaper. Obama has also transferred the help of some of his top tech friends, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment, but did not hear back by publication time.
Source: Benjamin Fearnow – NEWSWEEK