'The Gloves Are Off' After Obama Audio Leaks

The former president tackles weighty subjects in a private, online call
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2020 4:00 PM CDT

As TMZ puts it, "the gloves are officially off." Yahoo News has obtained audio of Barack Obama speaking online with members of the Obama Alumni Association on topics ranging from Michael Flynn to American tribalism to the response to the coronavirus—and let's just say it's unvarnished. So let's get to it:

  • "This election that’s coming up on every level is so important because what we're going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party," says the former president. "What we're fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy—that has become a stronger impulse in American life. And by the way, we're seeing that internationally as well."

  • "It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset—of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else'—when that mindset is operationalized in our government."
  • "The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed—about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn. And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic—not just institutional norms—but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk." (Fact check: Flynn was actually charged with making false statements to the FBI.)
  • On the lighter side, Obama says that having no sports is "driving me nuts." But at least his daughters, Sasha and Malia, "are stuck having dinner with me" every night.
(Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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