During an appearance on an episode of the podcast Pod Save America that rolled out on Wednesday, former President Barack Obama harshly criticized the foreign policy belligerence of President Donald Trump. Obama insisted that Trump lacks the “patience” and “focus” that are necessary to roll out an effective foreign policy. The fits and starts of Trump’s half-hearted and frequently self-serving approach to foreign relations have been well-documented. For example, Trump held a pair of much-hyped personal meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, proclaimed that the two of them “fell in love” — and then no systematically substantive development emerged. The situation did not drastically change.
‘It’s not as if Trump has been all that active internationally. I mean, the truth is he doesn’t have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of U.S. foreign policy.’
Obama did note that Trump has “systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure.” His administration has routinely pushed career officials out of the job who’ve been judged to be insufficiently loyal to the Trump agenda. In contrast, Obama noted, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “respects people who know history and have expertise,” adding that Biden “has a respect and understanding of what American leadership can do.”
You can check out Obama’s full Pod Save America podcast appearance below:
Not only has Trump sidelined policy experts, he frequently hasn’t even consulted with an overabundance of folks at all, despite his own total lack of experience in government and foreign policy. On one infamous occasion in 2016, Trump insisted that his “primary consultant” on foreign policy was… himself.
Meanwhile, discussing Biden, Obama insisted:
‘His North Star will be good. But at the same time, he’ll have a lot of people around him who are able to translate his good instincts into actual policy that works.’
Biden, of course, served for eight years as vice president in the Obama administration. Discussing more details of his perspective on his former top deputy, Obama shared that he felt that Biden’s development on foreign policy issues while previously in the White House would carry over to his potentially upcoming time as president.
‘Among my senior advisers during the course of my presidency, [Biden] consistently believed that we should show restraint and humility and think through the use of military power and had huge confidence and faith in the use of diplomacy as a strategy for showing American leadership. And that instinct, I think, is going to trickle down, partly because he’s going to have to rebuild a State Department that where some of the best people have been driven out systematically because they weren’t willing to toe Trump’s ideological agenda.’
Obama endorsed Biden’s bid for the presidency months ago, and he has routinely campaigned for him in the time since — although the scope of this campaigning has been curtailed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has made in-person gatherings precarious for medically vulnerable populations. Reportedly, however, Obama will soon visit states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in an effort to support the Biden campaign.