A new book by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker called Obama: The Call Of History lays out how Obama admitted ‘this stings’ after the 2016 election result and spent the night watching the movie Dr. Strange to try and distract himself. Obama went from being arrogantly confident that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump to seeing it as a ‘personal insult’ that she lost and being horrified over the election results.
Baker writes that when it became clear that Trump was going to win, Obama was flabbergasted the country was going to “replace him with a buffoonish showman whose calling cards had been repeated bankruptcies, serial marriages, and racist dog whistles.” After Obama spoke to Clinton and told her to concede defeat, Baker says the former president and his team put the blame on her for running a “scripted, soulless campaign” that failed to turn his presidency into a winning message and destroyed his legacy.
“Obama may not have been on the ballot, but it was hard not to see the vote as a ‘personal insult,’ as he had called it on the campaign trail,” Baker writes. “‘This stings,’ [Obama] said. ‘This hurts.’”
The book goes on to detail how Obama tried to keep it together in public after the race, but after meeting his successor at the White House, he went off in front of his former speechwriter Ben Rhodes and seethed that Trump “peddles in bullsh*t.” When Rhodes compared Trump to the conmen characters from Huckleberry Finn, Obama replied: “Maybe that’s the best we can hope for.”
The book was originally released in July 2017 but has been updated with extensive new reporting throughout Obama’s time in office. The new details are stunning and not in the least surprising. Obama even compared himself to Michael Corleone in the Godfather movies and said he was handing power over to somebody who would destroy his legacy.
Baker writes concerning Hillary Clinton: “She was a serious and seasoned professional who had served at the highest levels of government and provided mature leadership. Just as important, she would continue his policies and cement his biggest achievements. His legacy, he felt, was in safe hands.”
Obama, to distract himself during the election, which was going south for him in a big way, went to the White House movie theater with his wife Michelle and adviser Valerie Jarrett where they watched Dr. Strange, the superhero movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch. During the movie, Baker writes that Obama’s phone buzzed with an update and he said: “Huh. Results in Florida are looking kind of strange.”
Obama was forced to watch in disbelief and horror as Trump won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan that night… all of which had been Democratic for years. Baker writes: “By the end of the evening, the unthinkable had happened.” At 1 am, Obama sent a message to Clinton that she should concede. In a phone call to Obama Clinton said: “I’m sorry for letting you down.”
During the weeks after Trump took office, Obama went through multiple emotional stages… at times being philosophical and at other times he “flashed anger.” He evidently also expressed rare self-doubt and wondered if “maybe this is what people want,” Baker writes.
From The Daily Mail:
“Obama told one aide: ‘I’ve got the economy set up well for him. No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon’.
“In a stinging passage Baker writes: ‘To Obama and his team, however, the real blame lay squarely with Clinton.
“‘She was the one who could not translate his strong record and healthy economy into a winning message.
“‘Never mind that Trump essentially ran the same playbook against Clinton that Obama did eight years earlier, portraying her as a corrupt exemplar of the status quo.
“‘She brought many of her troubles on herself. No one forced her to underestimate the danger in the Midwest states of Wisconsin and Michigan.
“‘No one forced her to set up a private email server that would come back to haunt her.
“‘No one forced her to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other pillars of Wall Street for speeches.
“‘No one forced her to run a scripted, soulless campaign that tested eighty-five slogans before coming up with ‘Stronger Together’.
“Baker’s book also gives new insight into why Obama was so hesitant about criticizing Russia for meddling in the 2016 election before vote took place.
“Obama was led by his ‘cautious don’t-do-stupid-s**t instincts’ and feared that a forceful response would make Russia ‘escalate’ its operation.
“Then there was the question of how Trump would react and Obama admitted that ‘if I speak out more, he’ll just say it’s rigged’.
“Obama wrongly assumed that Clinton would win the election and Obama said in one meeting that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘backed the wrong horse’.
“In the end Obama would wait until after the election result before expelling Russian diplomats and it was only weeks before he left office that he released the intelligence assessment confirming that the hacking was done the Kremlin.
“Recent reports have said that Trump’s aides will not bring up election security with him because he sees it as de-legitimizing his election victory.
“That has not stopped Trump from blaming Obama for the Russian hacking and he Tweeted last week: ‘Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President’.
“Trump added: ‘He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected’.”
Obama and Clinton were both to blame for Russian interference and tried unsuccessfully to set Trump up for a fall with spying and underhanded propagandic tactics which will backfire on both of them in the end. Obama can blame Clinton and it is true that she was the most unlikable candidate in history, however, his policies that tanked the greatest nation on earth are also to blame. America dodged a bullet when Trump won the presidency in 2016.