Barack Obama says he misses the ‘fascinating’ work of the presidency – joking in an interview with Stephen Colbert that he’d have liked to have a ‘stand-in’ so he could carry out a third term.
In an interview to promote his new memoir, Obama said that ‘puzzling out’ the biggest political issues was ‘professionally really satisfying’ – while adding that he did not miss ‘having to wear a tie every day’.
‘If I could make an arrangement where I had a stand-in, a frontman or frontwoman, and they had an earpiece in and I was just in my basement in my sweats looking through the stuff, then I could sort of deliver the lines but somebody else was doing all the talking and ceremony, then I’d be fine with that because I found the work fascinating,’ Obama said.
The pair also swiped at Donald Trump, with Colbert saying that the current president had shown that ‘there’s a whole bunch of stuff you don’t actually have to do’ and Obama responding: ‘Who knew’?
Former president Barack Obama, pictured during his interview with Stephen Colbert, said he wished he could sit in his basement and give directions to a ‘stand-in’ for a third term
Chastising Trump for his handling of the job, Colbert asked: ‘Are there a few things that he chucked out and you went, oh, if only I’d known I didn’t have to do that’?
Obama responded that ‘I think there’s a lot’ – including the job of ‘following the Constitution’.
Describing the ‘fascinating’ job of the presidency, he said: ‘Even on my worst days, I found puzzling out these big, complicated, difficult issues – especially if you were working with some great people – to be professionally really satisfying’.
Obama is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term after his two election victories in 2008 and 2012.
While there has often been speculation about his wife Michelle Obama running for office, she has previously said there was ‘zero chance’.
The former president is promoting his memoir in the wake of the November election in which his understudy Joe Biden thwarted Trump’s bid for a second term.
Obama and Colbert during their interview on The Late Show, the second part of which aired on Monday night
In the second part of his Colbert interview, which aired last night, Obama compared Trump’s refusal to concede to a Super Bowl in which the losing side claims that ‘field goals aren’t worth three’ or ‘that wasn’t really a touchdown’.
‘Or Hugo Chavez kept blocking the field goals from the grave,’ interjected Colbert, referring to Trump surrogates’ outlandish claims that the late Venezuelan strongman was implicated in a plot to rig the election.
Obama continued: ‘We’ve all been watching. And I guess if you had the other team just refuse to acknowledge it, and you had half the league say we’re not sure it’s true, you’d have a similar controversy.
‘But when that starts happening, the game itself breaks down. And in this case it’s not a game, it’s our democracy.
‘Imagine if, going forward, every single election is treated this way at every level. Imagine if Democrats start acting this way.’
44th president Barack Obama, 45th president Donald Trump and president-elect Joe Biden during Trump’s inauguration on Capitol Hill in January 2017
Obama added: ‘Joe Biden is going to be the next president, Kamala Harris is going to be the next vice president.
‘But we don’t want to get into a pattern where we just are willing to throw out what we’ve agreed to previously, including our constitutional structure, just because we find it politically expedient.’
Despite Trump’s efforts to undermine Biden’s victory, key states including Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania have all certified their results in recent days.
Trump’s lawyers, including former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, have also had very little success in court and have failed to block the certifications.
On Thursday, Trump acknowledged that he will have to leave the White House in January if the electoral college confirms Biden’s victory.
The 538 electors will meet in their respective states on December 14, with Biden due to get 306 of their votes compared to 232 for Trump.