Just four days before election votes are tallied, President Barack Obama got candid about what a Donald Trump presidency may mean for the country in a taped interview with Rev. Al Sharpton that aired during Friday’s episode of MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes.
“A lot of people still can’t believe that Donald Trump will be elected president; there may be a complacency setting in,” Obama said about eligible voters who have yet to weigh in in this year’s election.
He then pleaded, “If you supported me in ’08, if you supported me in ’12, if you think that I’ve done a good job, if you believe that Michelle has done a good job — everything that we’ve done over the last eight years will be reversed with a Trump presidency. And everything will be sustained and built on with a Hillary Clinton presidency.”
Obama asked Sharpton to imagine what public reaction would have been like if he had made comments similar to Trump’s during the 2008 election.
“Imagine if, when I was running, I had said one-tenth of the things that Donald Trump has said. People would immediately say, ‘That person is not fit to be president,’ ” he said. “It’s not just with respect towards his attitude towards minorities — it’s his lack of respect for the Constitution.”
He added that Trump is the first Republican nominee who has made him deeply “concerned” about the future: “When I ran against John McCain, I thought he had wrong ideas, and I believed I would be a better president. But I didn’t think that if John McCain was president, that basic standards of decency — basic constitutional norms — would be out the window.”
Obama continued, “When he’s got all kinds of business interests that nobody knows what’s what and where money is coming from and where it might be going … that is the kind of unprecedented attitude that would make me concerned about the country as a whole.”
When asked how he would feel about handing over the power of the presidency to Trump, who repeatedly has slammed Obamacare and has been a vocal supporter of the “birther movement,” Obama clarified that he didn’t take anything “personally.”
“I would feel deeply frustrated,” he admitted, “not because of anything he’s said about me, but because I would fear for the future of our country.”
The president also weighed in on the FBI’s reopened investigation into a new batch of Clinton’s personal emails and the rumored possibility that the FBI had intentions to harm her candidacy.
“Historically, our goal has been and should be that our investigators and prosecutors are independent of politics. That they’re not politicized, that they’re not used as weapons,” he told Sharpton. “I want to make sure that we continue with that tradition and that norm. [FBI director] Jim Comey is a good man, and I do not believe, in any way, he’s trying to influence the election in one way or another.”
He ended his sit-down with Sharpton by urging viewers at home to vote: “If somebody is not voting right now who’s watching your program, you are voting for Donald Trump.”