What Barack Obama Says About Donald Trump in His Memoir

Former President Barack Obama has criticized President Donald Trump in his new memoir A Promised Land. The Democrat revisits the "Birther" conspiracy theory about him and also takes aim at other senior Republicans.

Obama's book is due to be published on November 17 but CNN has seen excerpts in advance. In those, the former president offers perhaps the strongest public criticism of his successor yet.

The extracts also mention former Vice President Joe Biden, whom Obama campaigned for in the 2020 presidential election, and highlight his role in congressional negotiations during Obama's eight years in office.

"It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted," Obama writes.

"Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president.

"For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety," he writes.

Obama is referring to the "Birther" conspiracy. This was the unfounded claim that Obama was not born in the U.S. and that he had a fake birth certificate. The theory is widely regarded as racist.

Before seeking office in 2016, Trump was a major public proponent of "Birtherism" and even claimed he had sent investigators to Obama's home state of Hawaii to find information.

Obama also writes about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and former Speaker of the House John Boehner, both Republicans who strongly opposed the former president.

He notes that Trump was different from other GOP figures and that by the time he was in the White House, it had become common for Trump to behave in previously unacceptable ways.

"In that sense, there wasn't much difference between Trump and Boehner or McConnell. They, too, understood that it didn't matter whether what they said was true," Obama writes.

"In fact, the only difference between Trump's style of politics and theirs was Trump's lack of inhibition," he says.

Obama also links Biden's role in negotiations on Capitol Hill with the fact he was the first Black person to become president, writing: "One of the reasons I'd chosen Joe to act as an intermediary — in addition to his Senate experience and legislative acumen — was my awareness that in McConnell's mind, negotiations with the vice president didn't inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperation with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do."

The former president also explains part of the reason he chose Biden to be his running mate in the first place.

"What mattered most, though, was what my gut told me - that Joe was decent, honest, and loyal," he writes. "I believed that he cared about ordinary people, and that when things got tough, I could trust him. I wouldn't be disappointed."

Trump and Obama Meet in 2016
President-elect Donald Trump (L) talks after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama (R) in the Oval Office November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama's new memoir criticizes his successor. Win McNamee/Getty Images