It was the one we were all waiting for.
Comedian Trevor Noah interviewed Barack Obama on The Daily Show – the twenty minute interview was broadcasted on Comedy Central and syndicated on BET and even MTV. It was a hotly anticipated meeting considering the state of affairs with the election of Obama’s soon to be successor, Donald Trump, deteriorating race relations and revelations of Russian interference in the US 2016 election.
And this is exactly where the interview started. Trevor didn’t shy away from challenging the President on his thoughts on Russia’s interference and what it means for democracy in the United States. Calm as usual, Obama played it down highlighting that Soviet interference in US dates back to the 50s: ‘These emails got a lot more attention than any policy,’ Obama said of the Podesta emails hacked and released on WikiLeaks, calling the information contained therein ‘routine.’ Some not convinced it justifies the corruption exposed in the email.
The conversation soon turned to Trump and his odd statements this week that he did not need to attend intelligence briefings because he is a smart man. Certainly a statement to make any citizen worried but Obama highlighted that Trump will most likely say one thing but do another once he’s actually in power.
Trevor pushed on a sensitive but important topic to Obama – his legacy. On his election campaign Trump vehemently stated that he would repeal parts of Obamacare – one of the defining features of Obama’s Presidency. This was personal. But as per usual, Obama did not panic and accepted that ObamaCare would need some tweaks over time – it would change for the better over time.
The pair also discussed Obama’s plans for after he leaves the White House to which he predictably answered that he’d spend some time with family and away from the public eye: ‘I think it is important for me to recharge. I think it's important for me to reflect. It's important for me to get back in my wife's good graces.’ However, he ensured watchers that he would be keeping a close eye on the White House and would not stand for any undemocratic practices like Trump’s Muslim registry policy which he championed during his election campaign.
Perhaps the most powerful part of the interview was the third part in which the two connected on the challenges of being men of mixed heritage. Trevor growing up in apartheid South Africa with a black mother and a white father who he could not stand next to in public, and Obama having a white mother and a Kenyan father.
Overall, we will all miss Obama and it’s nice to see the President taking time to reflect on his time in the White House. There are uncertain times ahead but it’s hard to feel too worried when the man speaks due to his calming aura and relaxed demeanour.
Check out the powerful interview below:
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