“If we had done the work, that was not rocket science, right?” Obama told CBS host Stephen Colbert Tuesday night. “We’re not (even) talking about vaccines.”
The 44th president, admitting the pandemic would have been a challenge for any leader, said he was happy to see vaccines were in the final stages of development. But he claimed the 45th president did himself no favors by failing to communicate with his constituents effectively, undermining the nation’s top scientists and being inconsistent in his messaging regarding masks and social distancing.
“If we had just taken those steps, there is no doubt we would have saved some lives. And ironically, the economy would be better because we would not be swinging back and forth in the ways that we have and people would feel more confident in making day-to-day decisions about shopping or going out,” the 59-year-old former leader said.
He added, “It would have been good politics as well.”
According to Obama, who’s promoting his new memoir “A Promised Land,” Trump’s penchant for indulging conspiracy theories he hears on cable news and the internet gets in the way of the former reality TV star’s ability to function effectively.
“I think that is a measure of how detached from reality and how embedded ideological and conspiratorial thinking has become, where you’re doing it even when it’s to your disadvantage,” Obama said of Trump and his GOP enablers. “You’re drinking your own Kool-Aid in a way that I think is troublesome.”
Obama feels one of the biggest challenges President-elect Biden faces when he takes office next month will be puncturing the “information bubble” in which Trump surrogates and followers still live.
Last month, Trump retweeted the theory that it was a body double — not 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden — who was killed by the Obama administration in Pakistan in 2011. He also expressed support for the delusional conspiracy collective QAnon, which believes powerful Democrats are operating a child sex trafficking ring out of locations that included a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. Trump has also claimed without evidence that the 2020 election, which he lost by more than 6 million votes, was somehow rigged against him.
“People are exhausted by this World Wrestling Federation constant cage match and people just want to feel as if a day passes without it being dominated by something crazy coming out of the White House,” Obama said.
Obama told Colbert that the fictional ultra-conservative character the comedian played in Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” seems credible by comparison to the Trump administration and that the president’s alternate reality has come at a cost to the county.
Colbert joked, “I did not know I was a prophet, I thought I was a comedian.”
The CBS funnyman finished quizzing the former president about his successor by asking if his concerns in 2016 were met by the reality of the Trump presidency.
“Exceedingly,” Obama deadpanned.
More than 260,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 going into Thanksgiving weekend. That’s roughly the pandemic death toll of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada and Russia combined, according to Johns Hopkins University.