Obama Tells Kimmel That Navy SEALs Can Drag Trump Out of White House
The former president also revealed how Trump’s birther nonsense almost distracted the White House from being able to pull off the Osama bin Laden raid.
After getting some more serious interviews out of the way over the past week, former President Barack Obama took his book tour to late-night TV, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live for the third time in five years to weigh in on this bizarre moment in American history.
“Why did you leave us with him?” Kimmel asked his remote guest when the applause from his limited live audience died down.
“I had to follow the Constitution and Michelle’s mandate,” Obama explained, to which the host replied, “The Constitution seems a little shaky lately. So I think Michelle's mandate is a lot stronger.”
Holding up a copy of Obama’s hefty new memoir A Promised Land, Kimmel asked, “Did you make it that long to make sure Trump never reads it?”
“I don’t think it would have had to be 700 [pages] to make sure he didn’t read it from what I hear,” Obama replied, laughing.
From there, the pair got into some small talk about who sold more copies of their book on the first day, Barack or Michelle, and why the former president is “afraid” of his teenage daughter Sasha.
Showing viewers the new cover of InStyle magazine with an extremely laid-back Obama on the cover along with the headline “That’s What I Do,” Kimmel asked, “How many martinis in were you on this shoot?” When Obama said it was shot around noon, the host joked, “Oh, so you have no excuse.”
It wasn’t until after a break that they got into the more pressing current events, such as the current president’s continued refusal to concede the 2020 election to Joe Biden.
“Do you feel that when you congratulated Biden and Senator Harris that you were premature in doing that?” Kimmel asked.
“No, I thought I was right on time,” Obama said, laughing. “There seems to be some lag. The communication system in the White House used to be better. It was real time. There were a lot of computers there that actually tell you what is going on around the world.”
Asked if there are any secret spots “someone could hide” in the White House if they were about to be removed, Obama joked, “Well, I think we can always send the Navy SEALS in there to dig him out.”
“I wish the transition was going better, because we lose time during these crises,” Obama added, more seriously. “When I came in, we were in the middle of a big crisis, the financial crisis. George W. Bush, he and I had obviously big policy differences, but he’s a good man, he’s a patriot. And he ordered everybody on his team to work seamlessly with us on the transition. Could not have been more gracious, could not have been more helpful. And that actually helped us be able to get a head start on trying to stem what could have been a great depression instead of a great recession.”
Later, Kimmel asked Obama about the story that closes out his new book: the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
“Part of the reason I ended the book on the bin Laden raid was, it was also at the time when the whole birther conspiracy was being floated by Donald Trump,” Obama said. “So, you get the split-screen that I was experiencing during my presidency, where we are planning this huge, risky, difficult operation that involves all the power and technology and skill and courage of the U.S. military and intelligence. And at the same time I’m dealing with a guy who’s saying that I wasn’t born where I was born.”
“It gives you an example of the weirdness of modern politics, where you want the president to be focused on the job, not on a circus,” he continued. “But the circus is what a lot of times is dominating the press. And ends up distracting a lot of the White House. And one of the things I always had to do was to try to screen that stuff out to make sure that I’m keeping my eye on the ball.”
In response to what Kimmel called the “preposterous” conspiracy theory that Trump recently pushed claiming the bin Laden raid was faked, Obama said, “Look, I mean, it would be preposterous except for the fact that it’s the president of the United States retweeting it,” adding, “That’s just not what you want out of a commander-in-chief.”
Ultimately, Kimmel ended his interview by asking Obama if he and the first lady “made love” on the night he successfully ordered the killing of bin Laden. “When I read the book and you were talking about hearing people outside the White House chanting ‘USA, USA, USA,’ I had an image in my head, I did.”
“I suspect that she was asleep,” Obama said. “Because the truth of the matter is, most of the time, by the time I was done working, she’d be snoozing.” When Kimmel said he didn’t need to make excuses, his guest replied, “It’s not an excuse, it’s a lament.”