Obama Says Trump “Promised An Elixir" to Americans Alarmed by Seeing a Black Man as President

Illustration for article titled Obama Says Trump “Promised An Elixir" to Americans Alarmed by Seeing a Black Man as President
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Staff (Getty Images)

Barack Obama’s highly-anticipated memoir, A Promised Land, is coming out next Tuesday. In it, the former president reflects on his time in the Oval Office, as well as the political chaos that has unfolded over the past four years.


In selected excerpts of the book published by CNN and The Atlantic, Obama discusses the ways that his position as the first Black president of the United States set the stage for Trump’s rise to power, saying Trump “promised an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House.”

“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. 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.”

Thank you, Obama, for finally saying what has been crystal clear to many of us for at least the last four years.

In the memoir, the former president apparently also examines how John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate during the 2008 presidential election enabled the rise of the right-wing Tea Party on the national stage.

“Through Palin,” Obama writes, “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 centre stage.”

Barack and Michelle Obama were reportedly paid $65 million by Penguin Random House for books about their time in the White House. (Michelle’s acclaimed memoir Becoming was published back in 2018.)

Read more excerpts from A Promised Land here.

Freelance writer & night blogger at Jezebel. Lover of television, astrology, and sandwiches.


tonight, living in a fantasy

Biden has Arizona.

Somewhere, a fat man-baby is throwing a yuuuuge temper tantrum and it gives me great joy.