A new memoir by a longtime adviser to Barack Obama gives a rare glimpse into the former US president’s reaction to the election of his successor Donald Trump, as well as those of other foreign leaders.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told Obama that she felt more obliged to run for another term in order to defend the liberal international order, Benjamin Rhodes writes in his book The World As It Is, excerpts of which were published by the New York Times on Wednesday.
Merkel had a tear in her eye when she parted from Obama for the final time, Rhodes said, quoting Obama as noting, “She’s all alone.”
Immediately after the election Obama tried to cheer up his staff, Rhodes said, sending his advisor a message reading, “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth.”
But Trump’s victory also led Obama to question his own legacy, according to Rhodes, wondering whether “we pushed too far” in promoting globalism and asking “What if we were wrong?”
Obama expressed concern by calling Trump a “cartoon” and saying: “We’re about to find out just how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world.”
Rhodes also describes Obama’s first meeting with Trump at the White House following the November 2016 election, at which Trump kept steering the conversation to the size of his rallies and pointing out that the two men could draw bigger crowds than Clinton.
The World As It Is will be published on Tuesday.