Barack Obama compared white people’s feelings for Donald Trump to that of black people for OJ Simpson after his acquittal, his former speechwriter said.
Ben Rhodes, who worked for Obama from 2009 to 2017, recalls his former boss’s “black humor” moment in his new book “After the Fall,” which builds on his experience at the White House to argue that the United States and the world has become more authoritarian.
Obama said, “Trump is to a lot of white people what OJ’s acquittal was to a lot of black people — you know it’s wrong, but it feels right.”
The acquittal of the NFL superstar in the much-discussed murder trial in 1995 divided the United States with jubilant reactions among members of the black community and widespread disapproval among white people.
Early polls showed that 70 percent of black people agreed that Simpson had not killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ron Goldman, while 75 percent of white people disagreed with the verdict.
The celebrations in the streets after the trial came four years after the brutal beating of Rodney King by the LAPD, which led to five days of rioting in Los Angeles.
Simpson was found responsible for the brutal stabbings in a civil suit filed two years later, but America’s split response to the first trial remains a fascination in the study of racial inequality.
Barack Obama in a recent appearance on The Late Late Show, left, and Donald Trump arriving at Trump Tower in New York City, right
Rhodes’ book focuses not only on the issue of race in the US, but more broadly what he sees is a growing injustice around the world and a tendency toward illiberal attitudes that he believes America has helped promote.
He describes America as “fallen” after Trump’s election in 2016 and draws comparisons between his administration and authoritarian regimes in Hungary, Russia and China.
“America helped shape the world we lived in before it descended into the cesspool of the Trump years,” Rhodes said.
OJ Simpson listens to testimony at his double murder trial in Los Angeles, March 16, 1995
“We now had a government that was radicalizing much of American society, turning parts of the country to violent white supremacy or a QAnon conspiracy theory that claimed America is secretly run by a cabal of child sex traffickers. ‘
But he only finds fault with Trump, whom he describes as a “lightning rod.”
“The invasion of Iraq introduced a destabilizing new normal in world politics,” writes Rhodes. “Laws and standards were for the weak, and the strong could do whatever they wanted.”
Rhodes previously wrote a successful memoir, “The World as It Is,” about his time with Obama in the White House, in which he painted a picture of a visionary president.
Obama’s comments about Trump have been reported before, including calling his successor a “crazy” and a “racist, sexist pig.”
Edward-Isaac Dovere, an Atlantic staff writer, writes in “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump” that the former president called Trump a “f***ing madman” and “corrupt motherf*.” **eh.’
Dovere wrote that Obama, like a number of Democrats, liked the idea of Trump being the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, believing he would be easier to beat in the general election than GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who graduated. at Princeton and Harvard Law School.
President Obama with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, at the White House in March 2012
Instead, Trump shocked the political world by beating former Secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
In 2017, Dovere reported, Obama began to realize that he is a madman when it comes to Trump.
Obama’s most intense response — calling Trump “that corrupt bastard” — came after learning that Trump was making phone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin with no aides on the line.
Obama hit the campaign trail for Biden in the fall — attacking Trump, but only going so far as to call him “crazy.”
“And with Joe and Kamala at the helm, you don’t have to think about the crazy things they said every day. And that’s worth a lot,” Obama said at an October rally in Philadelphia. ‘You don’t have to discuss it every day. It just won’t be that tiring.’