Former President Barack Obama was acutely aware of the racist backlash to his time in the White House — and it guided the decisions he made while there.
The early days of Obama's presidency coincided with the rise of the Tea Party within the GOP, leading Republicans to take over the Senate in 2014. And the opposition to Obama himself embedded in that far-right movement warped how the former president worked with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Obama writes in his forthcoming memoir obtained by CNN.
While Biden had the "Senate experience and legislative acumen" to work closely with McConnell and the GOP Senate, that's not the only reason Obama made the former vice president his Senate intermediary, Obama writes. He assumed that "in McConnell's mind, negotiations with the vice president didn't inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperation with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do," Obama explains.
In some ways, Obama even believes his presidency strengthened the racist influence within the GOP and led to the subsequent election of President Trump. "It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted," Obama writes. "For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, [Trump] promised an elixir for their racial anxiety."
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