Barack Obama said he worried the presidency had irreparably damaged his marriage to Michelle. The former president writes in his new memoir “A Promised Land” that he would often worry about their future.
It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round the clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance.”Barack Obama, ‘A Promised Land
CNN released excerpts from the book that’s due out next week.
This isn’t the first time the Obamas have opened up about their marriage. Michelle told Oprah in ELLE in 2018 that they had gone to marriage counseling. She also said that her husband’s political life was a problem from the beginning.
“When you get married and have kids, your whole plan, once again, gets upended,” she said, according to Yahoo. “Especially if you get married to somebody who has a career that swallows up everything, which is what politics is. … He had this wonderful optimism about time. He thought there was way more of it than there really was. And he would fill it up constantly. He’s a plate spinner — plates on sticks, and it’s not exciting unless one’s about to fall. So there was work we had to do as a couple. Counseling we had to do to work through this stuff.”
Barack Obama: ‘Dark Spirits’ of the Republican Party
“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 wrote, according to excerpts released by CNN. “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.”
Obama referenced the “birther” movement. It claimed the 44th President of the United States had been born in Kenya and was attempting to hide it. This roundly debunked conspiracy theory was backed heavily by Donald Trump.
But Obama believes the rise of Trump begins with Sarah Palin, who ran as John McCain’s running mate against Obama in 2008.
“Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party — xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks — were finding their way to center stage,” Obama writes.
The former president blames himself, however, for failing to gather support in 2010. He said a bad economy and his inabilities led to the Republican resurgence that reclaimed the House of Representatives.
“As far as I was concerned, the election didn’t prove our agenda had been wrong,” Obama writes. “It just proved that… I’d failed to rally the nation, as FDR had once done, behind what I knew to be right. Which to me was just as damning.”
“A Promised Land” will be released Nov. 17.