Barack Obama sat down for his first interview since Joe Biden was named president-elect following the 2020 presidential election. The former president spoke to Gayle King on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Sunday (Nov. 15) and revealed what compelled him to hit the campaign trail for his former vice president ahead of the election.
Obama’s speeches during the campaign were filled with criticism directed at Trump and his presidency, which is a new approach for the former president. “It wasn’t personal, the truth is everything I said, I was just stating facts,” Obama said. “I was not the person who at a White House briefing room said, ‘Is bleach the way to solve COVID?’ I wasn’t doing a routine, I was repeating words that I heard.”
“It is not my preference to be out there. I think we were in a circumstance in this election in which certain norms, certain institutional values that are so extraordinarily important, had been breached – that it was important for me, as somebody who had served in that office, to simply let people know, ‘This is not normal,’” the former president said.
“We are still deeply divided. The power of that alternative worldview that is presented in the media that those voters consume, it carries a lot of weight,” he said. “It’s very hard for our democracy to function if we are operating on just completely different sets of facts.”
“Look, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. Kamala Harris will be the next vice president. There’s no legal basis,” he said, adding how discouraging it was to see other republicans backing Trump’s claims. “That has been disappointing but it’s been sort of par for the course during these four years. They obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days.
“There’s damage to this. Because what happens is the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office are servants of the people, it’s a temporary job, we’re not above the rules, we’re not above the law,” he said.
Obama also discussed whether he would be assisting Biden in any way during his presidency, and will not be taking on a cabinet position for the sake of his marriage to Michelle Obama. “He doesn’t need my advice. And I will help him in any ways that I can. But now, you know, I’m not planning to suddenly work on The White House staff or something,” he told King. “There are probably some things I would not be doing, ‘cause Michelle would leave me … She’d be like, ‘What? You’re doin’ what?’”
Watch Obama’s first sit-down “CBS Sunday Morning” interview in full below.