In an extensive interview for the Atlantic, former President Barack Obama spoke about the coronavirus, his legacy, and the idea that Trump's support from Black men might be due to "the bling, the women, the money" in hip-hop. The 59-year-old former president suggested there's a comparison to be made between how Trump values success and the way a lot of the genre's videos convey success.
"It’s interesting—people are writing about the fact that Trump increased his support among Black men [in the 2020 presidential election], and the occasional rapper who supported Trump," said Obama. "I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money. A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is. Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture."
NBC's exit poll indicates Joe Biden received 80 percent of the support of Black men, whereas Hillary Clinton got 82 percent of the demographic in 2016. Comparatively, Obama got 95 percent and 87 percent in 2008 and 2012.
"America has always had a caste system—rich and poor, not just racially but economically—but it wasn't in your face most of the time when I was growing up," added Obama. "Then you start seeing Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, that sense that either you've got it or you're a loser. And Donald Trump epitomizes that cultural movement that is deeply ingrained now in American culture."
Obama also said he believes Trump's popularity on TV translated over to the world of politics, showcasing "the power of television in culture." He said he misses a lot of the popular culture zeitgeist because he doesn't really watch TV. "I certainly don't watch reality shows," he specified.
As for Trump's refusal to concede following the results of the 2020 election, in which Joe Biden won both the popular vote and the electoral college, Obama compared the current situation to when he won in 2008.
"For all the differences between myself and George W. Bush, he and his administration could not have been more gracious and intentional about ensuring a smooth handoff," Obama recalled. "One of the really distressing things about the current situation is the amount of time that is being lost because of Donald Trump’s petulance and the unwillingness of other Republicans to call him on it."
See what Twitter had to say about Obama's divisive comments below.