Republicans' fealty to reject Trump election lies threatens democracy: Obama
Kolkata, India: The Republican Party's unwillingness to reject his successor Donald Trump's bogus assertion that he won the 2020 election represents a threat to US democracy, according to former President Barack Obama.
Obama said Republican senators had been "cowed" into swallowing Trump's lie that he defeated Democrat Joe Biden in an interview with CNN on Monday evening.
This resulted in a crowd of Trump supporters attacking the US Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to prevent Biden's victory in the presidential election from being certified, he added.
"Originally it was 'Oh, don't worry this isn't going anywhere and 'We're just letting Trump and others vent,'" Obama told CNN's, Anderson Cooper.
"And then, suddenly, you now have large portions of an elected Congress going along with the falsehood that there were problems with the election," he said.
"And nobody stood up and said 'Stop, this is enough, this is not true,'" Obama said.
"I won't say nobody, let me correct that, there were some very brave people who did their jobs," he said, referring to election officials.
But, Obama said, "all those (Republican) congressmen started looking around and they said 'You know what I'll lose my job'" if I don't back Trump's claims.
Trump has targeted Republican members of Congress, including Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, for rejecting his bogus claim that he won the election.
"I didn't expect there would be so few people who would say 'Well, I don't mind losing my office cause this is too important, America's too important, our democracy's too important,'" Obama said. "We didn't see that."
"We have to worry when one of our major political parties is willing to embrace a way of thinking about our democracy that would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago," he said.
Obama, the first Black president of the United States, expressed optimism and pointed to his 2008 campaign slogan.
"I'm still the hope and change guy," he said. "And so my hope is that the tides will turn.
"But that does require each of us to understand that this experiment in democracy is not self-executing," he said. "It doesn't happen just automatically."