Obama says he never thought 'dark spirits' would take over the Republican Party: 'We have to worry'
- Obama criticized
Republicansfor embracing Trump's lies about the 2020 election.
- "We have to worry" when a major political party spreads conspiracy theories, Obama said.
- The comments came during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night.
"I didn't expect that there would be so few people who would say: 'Well, I don't mind losing my office because this is too important. America is too important. Our democracy is too important,'" Obama said. "We didn't see that."Obama added that he never thought the "dark spirits" he witnessed forming within the GOP over his two terms as president - such as "xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, [and] an antipathy toward Black and brown folks" - would take over the party.
"I thought that there were enough guardrails institutionally that even after Trump was elected that you would have the so-called Republican establishment" push back on him, Obama said. He went on to cite examples of Republicans toeing the line with Trump, including when many refused to speak out against his 2017 comments that there were "fine people on both sides" of a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville."That's a little bit beyond the pale," Obama said. Obama's comments came during a wide-ranging CNN interview, in which he also discussed divisions in the country related to race and the media.
"I'm still the hope and change guy. My hope is that the tides will turn," Obama said.
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