Former President Barack Obama is on a publicity tour for his recently released memoir, “A Promised Land,” and he made a stop at The Breakfast Club syndicated radio show where he spoke with hosts Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee about an array of topics.
Here are 10 takeaways from Barack Obama on The Breakfast Club.
One of the most repeated complaints people make about Obama’s eight years in the White House is that he failed to deliver for the Black community. Confronted with this question on the Breakfast Club, here’s how Obama responded:
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“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope,” Barack began. “And I also think we generally view the presidency almost like a monarchy in the sense of, (people think) once the president is there, he can do whatever needs to get done, and if he’s not doing it, it must be because he didn’t want to do it.”
He added, “The good news for me was that I was very confident about what I’ve done for Black folks because I have the statistics to prove it.”
Filmmaker and activist Tariq Nasheed is a critic who says Obama failed Black America. He tweeted, “Barack Obama was on the #BreakfastClub today, ‘splainin’ & babbling when asked why he didn’t do a damn thing to help Black ppl. He went right into that BS ‘disproportionately affected Black ppl’ talk while bringing up a bunch of ‘lift all’ policies. Obama & the Dems are liars”.
Some Twitter users agreed. One wrote, “He’s literally turning into a whole white man. Obama knows where his bread is buttered and it isn’t with Black society.”
Another posted, “Dude terrible for real, so many black people don’t see it, and still worship him.”
Jamarlin Martin, CEO of The Moguldom Nation, tweeted, “I watched the Obama breakfast club interview. Obama made a few good points. It’s true a politician is restricted from speaking their truth & “telling it like it is” in the manner of MLK or X. The thing is Obama doesn’t have the GOP & white voters to blame for his views, TODAY.”
Not everyone agreed with Nasheed. One Twitter user posted, “You act like the Republicans aren’t liars. Whatever Obama tried to do, they blocked. Yes, he could’ve done more, but Obama coming out JUST for Black people would’ve gotten him impeached or assassinated with a quickness.”
Obama defended his record by listing the accomplishments that he said helped the Black community. “By the time I left office, you had seen 3 million African Americans that have healthcare that didn’t have it before. You had seen the incarceration rate — the number of Black folks in prison — drop for the first time in years. You had seen the juvenile correction system, 30 percent fewer people in there. You had seen Black poverty to its lowest level since 1968. You had seen Black businesses rise. You had seen Black income go up.”
“So I could just look at the data and say millions of Black folks were better off at the time I left office than when I came in,” he said according to The Breakfast Club interview.
According to Obama, he could have done more if he hadn’t been blocked by the Republicans. He spoke specifically about Obamacare, saying he understood how Black Americans could feel like nothing changed if they are among the 10 million Americans who were left uninsured. Obama put the blame on Republicans “blocking him from doing everything he wanted to do” with Obamacare.
“So if you’re Black and you’re one of those 10 million who didn’t get healthcare … I can understand why they would be upset,” he said.
Trump has attracted so many white voters, particularly white males, by playing the race card, according to Obama. “You’ve seen created, in Republican politics, this sense that white males are victims … Which obviously doesn’t gibe with both history and data and economics … How you unwind that is gonna be not something that is done right away,” Obama said during the interview.
The Moguldom Nation founder Jamarlin Martin tweeted a chart showing how Black median household income increased from $25,996 in 1968 to $39,556 in 1999-2000 before going down to $33,718 in 2012 during the Obama administration.
“If Obama says he wants credit for ALL Lives Matter, trickle-down negronomics & cherry-picked stats for Black America, you have to look at other Presidents 2, TRUMP included. If U want to be FAIR! There is little ALPHA. To get that, you need to take RISKS & be BLACK SPECIFIC,” Martin tweeted.
During The Breakfast Club interview, Obama said part of the reason 73 million Americans voted to re-elect Donald Trump was because of messaging from Republicans that the country, particularly white men, are under attack, The Guardian reported.
Charlamagne asked the former POTUS to address the systemic changes his administration made to help Black Americans rise above generations of oppression.
“Black poverty dropped faster than everybody else,” Obama responded. “Black income went up more than a lot of other folks. The issue is, we didn’t go around advertising that because, once again, the goal here is to build coalitions where everybody is getting something so they all feel like they have a stake in it. But a lot of my policies were targeted toward people most in need. Those folks are disproportionately African American.”
Obama claimed that his administration put in place specific policies to address systemic racism, including changing sentencing guidelines that resulted in the federal prison population dropping and the crime rate dropping. The overall success of the strategy proved you can “reduce crime without expanding incarceration,” he said.
It would take a lot more than eight years to correct the historic wrongs against Black America, Obama told The Breakfast Club.
“There is no way in eight years to make up for 200 years,” Obama said. “The way I’ve been describing it, ’cause it’s very much how I understand the presidency now, you’re like a relay runner. You’re getting the baton from somebody else, and all you can do is run your stage of the race, and then you pass it on to the next person. And on either side, who you got it from and who you’re passing it to, they may not have the same priorities as you do. You know you’re not going to get everything done that you need to get done, but what you’ve got to do is do your best to get as much done as possible, and I think that’s what we did.”
A Twitter user agreed, writing in a response to Nasheed’s tweet, “He was the 1st Black President, I don’t know how you expect him to undo hundreds of years of Slavery, Segregation and Jim Crow in 8 years. The system was well established before he got in office.”
When Envy interjected during the interview that Trump “does whatever he wants to do,” Obama responded, “Right, because he breaks laws or disregards the constitution.”
Despite being anti-immigration, Trump made inroads with Hispanic voters. Obama said he gets it. “There’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans or puts undocumented workers in cages, they think that’s less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion.”
During the interview, Obama warned that Biden could face the same Republican blocks he did unless Democrats have a majority vote in the Senate. This is one reason the two Georgia Senate runoffs are so important.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are challenging incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine which party controls the Senate.
“If Ossoff and Warnock win, Democrats would secure a 50-50 split in the upper chamber, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris then casting tie-breaking votes,” Fox News reported.
“If the Republicans win those two seats, then Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will not be able to get any law passed that Mitch McConnell and the other Republicans aren’t going to go along with,” Obama said.