Barack Obama tore into Donald Trump during an interview published Monday where he said the president is a ‘Richie Rich’ type and far from the traditional ideal of American masculinity – like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, he noted.
‘I think about the classic male hero in American culture when you and I were growing up: the John Waynes, the Gary Coopers, the Jimmy Stewarts, the Clint Eastwoods, for that matter. There was a code,’ Obama told The Atlantic, ‘the code of masculinity that I grew up with that harkens back to the ’30s and ’40s and before that.’
The former president said he thought if a ‘right-wing populist’ would rise to the presidency, he thought it would be someone ‘more appealing’ than Trump.
‘I’m not surprised that somebody like Trump could get traction in our political life. He’s a symptom as much as an accelerant,’ Obama said, adding: ‘But if we were going to have a right-wing populist in this country, I would have expected somebody a little more appealing.’
‘There’s a notion that a man is true to his word, that he takes responsibility, that he doesn’t complain, that he isn’t a bully—in fact he defends the vulnerable against bullies,’ Trump’s predecessor detailed of American manhood.
Barack Obama lashed out at Donald Trump Monday, calling the president a real-life Richie Rich who complains, lies and doesn’t take responsibility
Obama said that Trump is far from the idol of American manlihood, which he claims are more like the types John Wayne (left) and Clint Eastwood (right) played in movies
On the other hand, Richie Rich is a character (portrayed by Macaulay Culkin here in 1994) who was the richest kid in the world and got everything he wanted
‘And so even if you are someone who is annoyed by wokeness and political correctness and wants men to be men again and is tired about everyone complaining about the patriarchy, I thought that the model wouldn’t be Richie Rich—the complaining, lying, doesn’t-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure,’ Obama said.
Richie Rich was a comic character created in the 1950s and was the world’s richest kid, getting anything he could possibly want – and was dubbed ‘the poor little rich boy.’ The comics were made into a TV cartoon and eventually were adapted into a movie starring Macaulay Culkin in the 1990s.
Obama says Trump is more Richie Rich than John Wayne.
The former Democratic president said in his interview with The Atlantic: ‘I did not believe how easily the Republican establishment, people who had been in Washington for a long time and had professed a belief in certain institutional values and norms, would just cave’ to Trumpian populism.
He added, however, that the populist shift in the Republican Party really garnered traction in the 2008 election, when he and Joe Biden ran a successful campaign against John McCain and Sarah Palin.
‘The power of Palin’s rallies compared with McCain’s rallies—just contrast the excitement you would see in the Republican base,’ Obama noted. ‘I think this hinted at the degree to which appeals around identity politics, around nativism, conspiracies, were gaining traction.’
Obama and former first lady Michelle became much more outspoken as the 2020 election approached, and since the results came back projecting Biden as the victor over Trump, they have upped their attacks on the sitting president.
Trump has still refused to concede to Biden, insisting he is the true winner of the election and claiming his lawsuits in several swing states will prove so in the coming weeks.
Two weekends ago, Biden declared victory after multiple media outlets called him the winner once enough states projected him winning their Electoral College votes – putting him over the 270 vote threshold needed to win the White House.
Since Election Day, Trump has spent his weekends at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia as he continues to refuse to concede to Joe Biden, claiming he was the rightful winner of the election
Obama claims the populist right-wing movement was able to garner much more traction due to social media, which he suggested should be treated like a digital media company rather than a third-party facilitator of open speak.
‘I don’t hold the tech companies entirely responsible, because this predates social media,’ Obama said. ‘It was already there.’
‘But social media has turbocharged it,’ he added. ‘I know most of these folks. I’ve talked to them about it. The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable. They are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not. The First Amendment doesn’t require private companies to provide a platform for any view that is out there.’
‘If we do not have the capacity to distinguish what’s true from what’s false, then by definition the marketplace of ideas doesn’t work. And by definition our democracy doesn’t work. We are entering into an epistemological crisis.’
HOW OBAMA LETS LOOSE ON OTHER WORLD LEADERS IN HIS NEW BOOK
VLADIMIR PUTIN: SHORT AND USED TO SUPPLICANTS
‘Physically, he was unremarkable: short and compact — a wrestler’s build — with thin, sandy hair, a prominent nose, and pale, watchful eyes. … I noticed a casualness to his movements, a practiced disinterest in his voice that indicated someone accustomed to being surrounded by subordinates and supplicants.’
Former US president Barack Obama in a new book describes Russian’s then prime minister Vladimir Putin as ‘physically unremarkable’ after this July 2009 meeting in Moscow
NICOLAS SARKOZY: LIFT- WEARING BANTAM COCKOUT OF TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
‘With his dark, expressive vaguely Mediterranean features (he was half Hungarian and a quarter Greek Jew) and small stature (he was about five-foot-five but wore lifts in his shoes to make himself taller), he looked like a figure out of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.
‘Conversations with Sarkozy were by turns amusing and exasperating, his hands in perpetual motion, his chest thrust out like a bantam cock’s, his personal translator… always beside him to frantically mirror his every gesture and intonation as the conversation swooped from flattery to bluster to genuine insight, never straying from his primary, barely disguised interest, which was to be at the center of the action and take credit for whatever it was that might be worth taking credit for.’
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: CHARMING LINEBACKER WHO COULD JUSTIFY ANYTHING TO KEEP POWER
‘Built like a linebacker, with a square jaw, broad features, and a gray comb-over, Netanyahu was smart, canny, tough and a gifted communicator in both Hebrew and English.’
‘Netanyahu could be charming, even solicitous, when it served his purposes.’
‘But his vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that would keep him in power — and his familiarity with American politics and media gave him confidence that he could resist whatever pressure a Democratic administration like mine might try to apply.’
ANGELA MERKEL: NO-NONSENSE HER EYES WERE A TELL
‘Merkel’s eyes were big and bright blue and could be touched by turns with frustration, amusement or hints of sorrow. Otherwise, her stolid appearance reflected her no-nonsense, analytical sensibility.’
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: POWER COMES FIRST
‘Personally, I found (Erdogan) to be cordial and generally responsive to my requests. But whenever I listened to him speak, his tall frame slightly stooped, his voice a forceful staccato that rose an octave in response to various grievances or perceived slights, I got the strong impression that his commitment to democracy and the rule of law might last only as long as it preserved his own power.’
MANMOHAN SINGH: INDIAN PM’S TURBAN GAVE HIM AIR OF A HOLY MAN
Former president Barack Obama in a new memoir voices deep respect for India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh, seen here in a 2013 White House meeting
‘A gentle, soft-spoken economist in his 70s, with a white beard and a turban that were the marks of his Sikh faith but to the Western eye lent him the air of a holy man…
‘I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful and scrupulously honest.’
HU JINTAO: CHINA’S CHIEF HAD AN ENDLESS STACK OF PAPERS
‘Whatever the topic, he liked to read from thick stacks of prepared remarks, pausing every so often for translations to English that seemed to have been prepared in advance and, somehow, always lasted longer than his original statement. … I was tempted more than once to suggest that we could save each other time by just exchanging papers and reading them at our leisure.’