When Trump won the presidential elections, Ben Rhodes, one of President Obama’s closest advisors, could not believe what was happening before his eyes. He sat in shock away from the hustle gazing into emptiness. According to a video online, he said he needed few minutes of silence to process what happened and then he mumbled: “I can’t even put it in words.”
Rhodes was not the only one in a state of shock and denial. Even his president went through a psychological trauma that lasted for weeks, as Rhodes himself mentioned in his book The World as It Is that will be published in few days. In fact, President Trump’s victory came as a shock to the Democrats who did not doubt for a minute that Hillary will have a sweeping victory that’s humiliating to her Republican opponent. They even prepared fireworks to celebrate the historical victory. However, after Obama woke up from the shock, he told his aides in his armored car: “What if we were wrong? Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.” He means the political, religious, ethnic tribe and other sub-affiliations.
Obama also felt disappointed and insulted that the Americans replaced him with someone he described as a clown who had questioned his place of birth. It meant he was not loved and worshipped like he expected or like those who surrounded him had convinced him he was as they always told him that it will not be difficult for him to win if he runs for a third term.
Even after Trump won, Obama compared him to a cartoon figure who cared about his crowd sizes, and he was irritated that someone like Trump was succeeding him. This anger and contempt was accompanied by a sense of spiritual contemplation that follows horrible events. To his opponents, Trump’s victory seemed like a doomsday and day of indignation that have befallen on them from the heavens. However, Obama decided to get out of this desperation and raise the morale of his psychologically broken team as he wrote to Rhodes once: “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.”
Merkel ‘all alone?’
While bidding German Chancellor Angela Merkel farewell after his term ended, Obama spotted tears in her eyes and he said he knew why. He noted: “She’s all alone” in defending liberal values. Merkel decided to run in the elections again to stand against Trump’s populism as she thought.
Obama is a chapter from history that ended with all its flaws and good deeds, but knowing such stories and secret accounts is important to find out how such leaders - who have the keys to history and to changing the world - think.Mamdouh AlMuhaini
These are some of the excerpts from the book and which reflect the state of the former president and his team following the shocking defeat. Before commenting on the content, we must highlight that the book deliberately hints that President Obama and his team are still just shocked and there’s nothing they can do because they believe in democratic transformation where the former president isolates himself and refuses to even comment on the decisions of the current president in order not to weaken the presidency. Former presidents usually do this. However this rosy picture is not true and we’ve seen how Obama has several times criticized and mocked some of Trump’s decisions. The most recent example is the long letter he penned after the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal while John Kerry publicly meets with Iranian officials.
Even the resistance team did not stop participating, commenting or attacking. An example is John Brennan, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency during Obama’s term, who has turned his Twitter account into a hideous platform to attack the current administration and all the steps it takes even the ones which he extensively believes are good like the negotiations with North Korea.
Rhodes, who is a close advisor of Obama, seeks to show Obama as a thinker and a meditator who’s torn by doubts. However, he unintentionally pictures him as someone whose mind is controlled by illusions. Obama’s talk that maybe they pushed too far and injected the society with an overdose of progress but the society wants to fall back into its tribe reveals the exaggerated self-estimate. One of those who were upset by this insult responded: “Mr. President, we are a nation and not a tribe.” Obama is aware that he has changed people’s minds ever since he became president and is surprised that people turned on the precious legacies he’s left them. ““Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” Obama said with a sigh.
Such an apostolic sense is contradicted by the facts on the ground. Obama left the White House leaving millions of weak people displaced and innocent civilians under the threat of mass murder without using the massive American power to do good (like former presidents who did not suffer from illusions of prophecy did) and to stop villainous tyrants’ murder of children. It’s true that Obama believes that he was only sent for the Americans and the Europeans and not the world; but this response must be refuted by that feeling that he had a special task that changed minds. Even in the US itself, Obama was only popular among his supporters but he was hated by wide categories which later brought Trump to the White House. It’s clear that he lives in a bubble of fantasies and delusions of grandeur.
The funny story though is his conversation with Merkel while her eyes were in tears and her conviction that Obama left her alone to defend the free world. What a funny and romantic story since it was Obama himself who signed the deal with the Iranian regime that neither believes in the liberal values that he preaches nor recognizes the simplest international principles which states have been accustomed to for long decades. Merkel, the protector of freedom and liberal values, is very angry from the Americans because of their withdrawal and she stubbornly and sternly stands in front of the American sanctions against a regime that’s stained with the Iranian people’s blood before it’s even stained with other people’s blood.
Obama is a chapter from history that ended with all its flaws and good deeds but knowing such stories and secret accounts is important to know how such leaders who have the keys to history and to changing the world think. They are not evil leaders but they’re self-immersed. Their threat lies in their complete faith that they have the absolute truth and a solutions’ catalogue to the problems of the world as they imagine it while the real world falls into a pit of blood and pain.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain