Former President Barack Obama compared President Donald Trump to a dictator during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday and was subsequently slammed on social media for the hypocrisy of his statements given things that he did while president.
“I think that there has been this sense over the last several years that literally anything goes and is justified in order to get power,” Obama said. “And that’s not unique to the United States. There are strong men and dictators around the world who think that, ‘I can do anything to stay in power. I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. I can run phony elections. I can suppress journalists.'”
“But that’s not who we’re supposed to be,” he added. “And one of the signals I think that Joe Biden needs to send to the world is that, ‘No, those values that we preached, and we believed in, and subscribed in– we still believe.'”
Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest shared a video of Obama’s comments on social media, writing: “UNHINGED: Barack Obama — who droned weddings & targeted journalists — compares @realDonaldTrump to a dictator who thinks, ‘I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. … I can suppress journalists.'”
UNHINGED: Barack Obama — who droned weddings & targeted journalists — compares @realDonaldTrump to a dictator who thinks, "I can kill people. I can throw them in jail. … I can suppress journalists." pic.twitter.com/lMo7C7DD74
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 16, 2020
Zaid Jilani, a former left-wing journalist, shared a link to a Washington Post story from 2014 about an allegation that he made against the Obama administration.
“Obama is against suppressing journalists?” Jilani wrote. “A welcome evolution!”
In the article, the author wrote: “Blogger Zaid Jilani has a post claiming that when he worked for ThinkProgress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, he was pressured to toe the White House line, even when that conflicted with the positions his organization was supposedly advancing.”
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) November 16, 2020
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton added: “Obama’s unhinged attack on @RealDonaldTrump should erase any doubt about his knowing role in the treacherous and seditious spying and targeting of Trump and other innocents in Trump world.”
“60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley later talked about the political division in the country during the interview saying, “Mr. Obama blames gridlock on something old and something new, the Senate’s filibuster tradition which allows whatever party is in the minority to block legislation and nontraditional media.”
“The media landscape has changed. And as a consequence, voters’ perceptions have changed. So that I think Democratic and Republican voters have become much more partisan,” Obama claimed. “I would often hear this from Republicans during my presidency, some of these folks have been colleagues of mine. I served in the Senate. Some of them were friends of mine. And they would confess to me and said, ‘Look, Mr. President, I know you’re right. But if I vote with you on this, I’m gonna get killed. I’ll lose my seat.’”
“Because what had happened is their voter base had soaked in so much information that was demonizing me, demonizing the Affordable Care Act, that it becomes very difficult, even for folks who want to cooperate, to cooperate,” Obama claimed. “And that’s why I am somebody who does not blame the current partisanship solely on Donald Trump or solely on social media. You already saw some of these trends taking place early in my presidency. But I do think they’ve kept on getting worse.”
However, when Obama was a senator from Illinois, he did not have a problem with the filibuster, saying that any notion of eliminating it was “more about power than about fairness.” Obama has recently come out and said that Democrats should eliminate the filibuster because it is racist.
“I believe some of my colleagues propose this rule change because they can get away with it rather than because they know it is good for our democracy,” Obama said in 2005. “If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party and the millions of Americans who ask us to be their voice, I fear the partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything.”
“What [the American people] don’t expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet,” Obama continued. “The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this Chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse. I understand that Republicans are getting a lot of pressure to do this from factions outside the Chamber, but we need to rise above ‘the ends justify the means’ mentality because we are here to answer to the people — all of the people, not just the ones who are wearing our particular party label.”
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