Obama says Trump lacks 'focus and patience' in foreign policy, lauds Biden's understanding of 'US leadership'

The former president said Trump 'systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure'


                            Obama says Trump lacks 'focus and patience' in foreign policy, lauds Biden's understanding of 'US leadership'
(Getty Images)

In a lengthy podcast interview with two former aides, Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, former President Barack Obama did not bother reining in his criticism of his succcessor, Donald Trump, claiming that the latter lacked "patience" and "focus" to make any substantial changes to foreign policy of the country. While he touched on several topics during his 45-minute 'Pod Save America' interview which aired Wednesday, October 14, some of the most scathing remarks were reserved for the current POTUS. "It's not as if Trump has been all that active internationally. I mean, the truth is he doesn't have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of US foreign policy," Obama said, adding that the president has "systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure."

Drawing a sharp contrast with the Democratic presidential nominee that Obama was backing, he said that Joe Biden "has a respect and understanding for what American leadership can do." He went onto tout his former vice president's changed views on foreign policy, saying that while the former Delaware senator voted in 2002 to authorize military force in Iraq - which subsequently became a flashpoint during the 2008 presidential primary - Biden had "learned a lesson" from his decision. 

"He was probably the person who was most restrained in terms of use of military force among my senior advisers during the course of my presidency," Obama said. "He consistently believed that we should show restraint and humility and think through the use of military power and had huge confidence and faith in the use of diplomacy as a strategy for showing American leadership."

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral service of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty Images)

But Obama did exercise restraint when it comes to attacking Trump for his tweets, many of which were directed toward him, often bordering on conspiracy theories. Instead of slamming Trump directly, Obama pointed out the fact that the latter's social media statements were so ridiculous, in fact, that they were also approached with much skepticism from members of the GOP. "Fellow Republicans tend to just pretend it doesn't happen," Obama joked, adding how Republicans often say they "didn't read the tweet." "They kind of dodge reporters when they're asked about it," he said. "The allegations are so absurd that even Republican-controlled committees looking into it have dismissed them."

However, Trump's focus on such conspiracies did highlight the "whole misinformation... and the conservative media infrastructure," said Obama. "That is a problem that is going to outlast Trump. Trump is a symptom of it and an accelerant to it. But he did not create it," Obama continued, citing the the fact that the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory is "seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party" demonstrated "there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem."

Lastly, he had some unsolicited advice for progressives in his party. "There's nothing wrong with making noise about it. And there's nothing wrong with holding folks to account," he said. "I think that the caution I always have for progressives is making sure that, as you push for the most you could get, that at a certain point you say: 'All right. You know what? Let's get this done and then let's then move on to fight another day.' "

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