Obama Said Tea Party Movement Was Composed of 'Racist Motherf---ers,' According to New Book

A new book by Edward-Isaac Dovere claims that Obama also referred to Donald Trump as "a madman," and once said of his presidency: "I didn't think it would be this bad"

Barack Obama
Barack Obama. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty

Former President Barack Obama is openly not a fan of Donald Trump or of the Tea Party movement that preceded his rise — and according to a new book, he used choice words to describe both. The book, by Atlantic journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere, quotes Obama referring to Trump as a "f---ing lunatic" and saying the right-wing Tea Party movement was comprised of "racist motherf---ers."

In his forthcoming book Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaign to Defeat Trump, Dovere writes that the remark came after the Obama Foundation's 2017 holiday party in Chicago, when his staff asked how it felt "to be made out as an anticapitalist by the Republicans," despite the fact that he had previously worked with big banks and corporate leaders.

"Obama gave a long, reasoned answer," Dovere writes in the book, as reported by Business Insider. "As for the Tea Party, Obama said, well, they were 'racist motherf---ers.' "

The right-wing Tea Party movement sprouted up in 2009, and was at the time focused on undoing Obama's landmark health care law and enacting conservative fiscal policies.

According to Business Insider, Dovere writes that Obama, 59, referred to Trump, 74, as "a madman," and once said of his presidency: "I didn't think it would be this bad."

Obama also reportedly said of Trump: "I didn't think we'd have a racist, sexist pig," and referred to the former reality star as a "f---ing lunatic" and a "corrupt motherf---er" when it was reported that Trump had phone calls with foreign leaders without any American aides listening in.

As PEOPLE earlier reported for its 2017 cover story on the 44th president, Obama on election night 2016 privately called Trump "nothing but a bullshitter," according to sources close to the then-president.

Sources told PEOPLE the comment came while Obama was describing an election night phone call with Trump, in which the businessman suddenly professed his "respect" and "admiration" for his predecessor, following years of hectoring and promulgating the racist "birther" conspiracy theory.

Obama's opinion didn't seem to change much over the next four years, with the former president often criticizing Trump's tenure in office while campaigning for Joe Biden, his former vice president.

At an October 2020 drive-in rally for the then-Democratic nominee, Obama slammed Trump, saying he wasn't focusing on the well-being of the country and was instead only working to promote himself using a "reality show" style of politics.

"[Trump] hasn't shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself or his friends or treating the presidency as anything more than a reality show to give him the attention that he craves," Obama said. "But unfortunately, the rest of us have to live with the consequences."

Following the riot at the U.S. Capitol by a group of violent pro-Trump supporters on Jan. 6, Obama issued a strongly worded statement alluding to Trump, in which he said, "we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."

In the statement, Obama assailed Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, saying, "For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20."

"Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we're seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo," Obama said.

In her own 2018 memoir Becoming, Obama's wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, wrote about her true feelings on Trump, blasting his birther crusade against her husband as "crazy and mean-spirited … its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed."

Writing that she would "never forgive him" for stirring up the false birther movement in 2011, which she said endangered her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, Mrs. Obama wrote that Trump's lies were "dangerous," and "deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."

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