In a moment of pure “Did he just say that?” ex-President Barack Obama has weighed in on the surreal spectacle of Donald Trump, now under indictment, vying for the highest office in the land. Sharing his thoughts with CNN’s Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour, Obama described the situation as “less than ideal” — a casual understatement if there ever was one!
However, amidst all the circus noise of Trump’s continued legal woes and audacious political ambition, Obama wants us to zero in on a more critical issue at hand: the perilous state of our democratic institutions. For the 44th president, it’s not just about one rogue individual; it’s about the broader, ominous trends in American politics that threaten the foundations of our democracy.
In response to Amanpour’s query about how the world might interpret Trump’s indictment and the fact that he’s even eligible to run for the presidency, Obama acknowledged it’s not the best look for us. But, as he rightly pointed out, the mere fact that a former president is answering to charges initiated by prosecutors upholds a fundamental democratic principle — no one is above the law.
The real anxiety for Obama, however, is that it’s not just about a single individual undermining the laws, but an all-out assault on our democratic norms. We’re talking about gerrymandering districts to manipulate political advantage, using legislative changes to quash critics, intimidating the press, and fostering an overall anti-democratic sentiment. These issues run far deeper than Trump’s legal troubles and campaign shenanigans.
While he didn’t shy away from calling out the most egregious examples in the Republican party, Obama was quick to dispel any notions of this being an issue unique to one side of the aisle. The core concern is the waning tolerance for ideas that challenge our own, and the dwindling respect for the ‘rules of the game’ in our democratic process — even when we don’t always get the outcome we desire. He lamented the erosion of these values since his time in office and made a call to arms to strengthen them once more.
It’s clear that this isn’t just about Trump — it’s about the very soul of our democracy. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Obama’s wake-up call couldn’t be more urgent.