What Barack Obama Has Said about Donald Trump and the 2020 Election Fraud Claims

Former President Barack Obama has repeatedly criticized Republicans for supporting President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The Democrat has given a series of recent interviews to promote his new memoire A Promised Land. Obama campaigned for former Vice President Joe Biden and has some thoughts on the difficult transition.

Obama rejected claims of voter fraud in an interview with MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart on Thursday, saying it was troubling to see senior GOP figures promoting the allegations.

"These are just bald assertions, they have been repeatedly rejected by the courts, and I think I'm less surprised by Donald Trump doing this, he has shown, you know, only a flimsy relationship with the truth," Obama said.

"I'm more troubled that you're seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it, not because they actually believe it, but because they feel intimidated by it."

"I have been troubled, like every American, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or independent should be troubled, when you start having attempts to block, negate, overturn the people's vote when there's no actual evidence that there was anything illegal or fraudulent taking place," he went on.

Obama compared the Trump administration's lack of co-operation with Biden to his own transition period in 2008. He succeeded Republican President George W. Bush, who had served two terms.

"I think that 2008's very different than 2020," Obama told MSNBC. "The way Donald Trump's behaving in transition is very different than the way George Bush behaved on his final months, when he was in office — and because we're in the middle of a pandemic we don't know what inauguration's going to look like."

The former president offered similar criticism during an interview with CBS News last week, saying the voter fraud claims were being advanced because "the president doesn't like to lose."

"I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials, who clearly know better, are going along with this," he said. "It's one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally, and that's a dangerous path."

Speaking to The Atlantic on November 16, Obama also compared Trump unfavorably to Bush and suggested he was being petulant, to the detriment of the country.

"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 said.

"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."

Obama has also offered broader criticism of the Republican Party and conservative media, with clear references to Fox News and right-wing personalities who've backed the president's voter fraud claims.

"The problem facing the Republican Party, the conservative movement, whatever you want to call it, goes back to the attitudes of the base—attitudes that have been shaped by right-wing media," he told The Atlantic.

"And so essentially what Republican elected officials have done is to say to themselves that in order to survive, we have to go along with conspiracy theorizing, false assertion, fantasies that Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and others in that echo chamber have concocted, because people believe them."

But Obama was also hopeful that a Biden administration might "lower the temperature" of the partisan divide, according to MSNBC.

"In some ways, I think it will be useful for us to just get back to the normal arguments between Democrats and Republicans," he said.

Former President Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama speaks in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during a drive-in rally at the Florida International University on November 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Obama has criticized Republicans for backing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Joe Raedle/Getty Images