During an interview with CNN, warned about the fragility of democratic institutions both in the United States and globally. He emphasized the need for American leaders to work towards sustaining these institutions for the future. Obama pointed out that despite the challenges, the indictment of former President Donald Trump demonstrates that the rule of law still exists in the United States, albeit with room for improvement.
Speaking with CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour in Athens, where he was discussing democracy-related issues, Obama said Democratic institutions in the U.S. had grown “creaky,” but the rule of law still reigns—for now. Obama expressed his belief that democracy will prevail if it is fought for and called for necessary reforms.
“I do believe that democracy will win if we fight for it,” Obama said. “Our existing democratic institutions are creaky, and we’re going to have to reform them.”
The former president also stressed the importance of Western efforts to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, as it contributes to the long-term safeguarding of democracy.
Obama’s visit to Greece this week held symbolic importance, as it was a return to a location where he had spoken about the enduring power of American democracy during his presidency. However, he noted that concerns about both American and global democracy have intensified since then, particularly with Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election and the subsequent Capitol insurrection.
In discussing the complex nature of the American presidency, Obama mentioned that dealing with dictators or leaders who do not adhere to democratic ideals is an integral part of the role. He emphasized the importance of finding common interests and upholding principles while engaging with such leaders.
Regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was visiting the White House, Obama acknowledged concerns about Modi’s drift towards authoritarianism and human rights violations. However, he also highlighted the need to address these concerns within diplomatic conversations, considering India’s significance in terms of national security and countering China’s influence.
Watch the clips below from CNN:
"The fact that we have a former president who is having to answer to charges brought by prosecutors does uphold the basic notion that nobody's above the law," former President Barack Obama tells CNN about Trump's indictment https://t.co/KlFTtdFKtk pic.twitter.com/4UmL8rHbDV
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 22, 2023
Just sat down for an exclusive w/ President @BarackObama in Athens to discuss the future of democracy, at home & abroad. I asked how the US should engage with autocracies. Watch his response.
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) June 22, 2023