Obama referred to Trump as 'cartoon' after election, according to adviser's book

Posted at 7:21 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 16:09:00-04

(RNN) – In the wake of President Donald Trump's election victory in 2016, former President Barack Obama admitted pangs of self-doubt and framed Trump as a "cartoon" indulgence, according to a book by Obama adviser Ben Rhodes.

The New York Times excerpted some of the book, titled "The World as It Is," on Wednesday.

Among the more notable revelations was an anecdote in which, according to Rhodes, Obama told aides that with the economy in sound shape, a bombastic figure such as Trump was perhaps "what people want."

"No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon," Obama said.

Foreseeing Trump administration shifts in policy on matters as varied as health care, trade, the Iran deal and the Paris climate accord, Obama said: "We're about to find out just how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world."

According to the excerpt, on a trip to Peru just a few weeks after the election, Obama said he felt he might have misjudged the American people, who twice elected him but sharply rejected his would-be predecessor, Hillary Clinton.

"What if we were wrong?" Obama asked. "Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe."

Rhodes himself writes of missing signs that Clinton was vulnerable.

"I couldn't shake the feeling that I should have seen it coming. Because when you distilled it, stripped out the racism and misogyny, we'd run against Hillary eight years ago with the same message Trump had used: She's part of a corrupt establishment that can't be trusted to bring change."

A video of Rhodes reacting to Clinton's loss the morning after the election also circulated on Twitter. The clip, from an HBO documentary called "The Final Year," chronicling the last year of the Obama administration, shows Rhodes speechless over Trump's win.

Rhodes was a speechwriter and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, working in the White House throughout all eight years of the Obama presidency.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.