- Former President Barack Obama said he was troubled to witness Republican lawmakers doing "a complete 180 on everything they claimed to believe" in recent years.
- Obama told The Atlantic he wasn't surprised by the behavior of President Donald Trump during his time in office.
- But he said he was shocked to see Republicans position themselves as staunch Trump allies despite much of the president's rhetoric and actions that break with the values of the party.
- "I did not believe how easily the Republican establishment, people who had been in Washington for a long time and had professed a belief in certain institutional values and norms, would just cave," he said in the interview.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Former President Barack Obama said he was not shocked by President Donald Trump's "character and behavior" while in office, but he was surprised to see Republican lawmakers doing "a complete 180 on everything they claimed to believe."
In an interview with The Atlantic, Obama said Trump exhibited the same values and behavior in the four years of his presidency as he did during his campaign.
Those signs were "all evident before the 2016 election," Obama said. "I didn't expect him to significantly change."
But Obama was surprised that some longtime Republican senators displayed a staunch loyalty to Trump, even if it meant going against their party's values.
"I did not believe how easily the Republican establishment, people who had been in Washington for a long time and had professed a belief in certain institutional values and norms, would just cave," he said in the interview.
The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg asked Obama about the "complicity" of powerhouse Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, two Republicans who appear to have turned into Trump loyalists.
Rubio has attended Trump campaign rallies in support of the president's reelection bid. But throughout 2016, Rubio slammed Trump for using violent language and called him a "con artist."
In the middle of Trump's presidency, Graham became one of his closest allies. But the South Carolina senator didn't always feel warm toward Trump.
"I think he's a kook," Graham said in February 2016. "I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office."
Both Graham and Rubio vehemently opposed Trump's impeachment in 2019. Graham told CNN he'd do "everything" in his power to make sure Trump's impeachment trial would "die quickly." Rubio called it a "partisan impeachment" brought on by the Democrat-led House.
Obama said that allegiance from Graham, Rubio, and other Republican lawmakers surprised him.
"You think about John McCain: For all my differences with him, you would not have seen John McCain excuse a president cozying up to Vladimir Putin, or preferring Russian interpretations of events over those of his own intelligence agencies," Obama said. "And to see figures in the Republican Party do a complete 180 on everything they claimed to believe previously is troubling."
Trump in 2017 said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Putin's statement fell entirely out of line with US intelligence reports that concluded the opposite.
Top Republicans also went against US intelligence reports, latching onto and promoting a conspiracy theory that said Ukraine — not Russia — interfered in the election.
"Essentially what Republican elected officials have done is to say to themselves that in order to survive, we have to go along with conspiracy theorizing, false assertion, fantasies that Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and others in that echo chamber have concocted, because people believe them," Obama said.
Source: Read Full Article