Bin Laden, Donald Trump or his nationality … Barack Obama recounts his first term in the White House in his memoirs

What does the daily life of an American president look like, between controversies, family life and secrecy of military operations? In A promised land (Editions Fayard), first volume of his memoirs, Barack Obama looks back on the decisive moments that marked his first term (2008-2012). A work of which Sunday Newspaper publish the right sheets (paid item).

On the occasion of the release of this book, Barack Obama will also come back on his career during an exclusive interview granted to France 2 and broadcast on Tuesday November 17 from 8:35 p.m.

The controversy over his American nationality

In the spring of 2011, in the midst of the campaign for his re-election to the White House, rumors suggest that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, but in the province of Mombasa, Kenya. This thesis helps to question the eligibility of Barack Obama for the White House, the American constitution with what “no one can be elected president if he is not a citizen by birth”. One of the main relays of this theory is none other than Donald Trump, who at that time was only a real estate mogul. “Shows devoted long stretches to Trump and his theories”, remembers Barack Obama in his book.

“Finally, I decided that I had it all.”

Barack Obama, former President of the United States

in “A Promised Land”

To silence the rumor, the White House makes public the birth certificate of Barack Obama attesting to a birth in Hawaii. But some, including Donald Trump, continue to view the document as a forgery. So, to put an end to the controversy definitively, Barack Obama, who had never spoken of it publicly, decides to speak out on the subject, against the advice of his advisers. “Thus, on April 27 [2011], I took my place on the platform of the White House press room “, says the former president. “We are not going to be able to solve our problems if we let ourselves be distracted by clowns and fair trade hucksters”, he launched in front of the journalists. A few days later, “reluctantly, Donald Trump admitted that I was born in Hawaii, while congratulating himself on having forced me – on behalf of the American people – to remove all doubts”, he writes a little further.

L’ascension of Donald Trump in the political landscape

On May 1, 2011, a few days after the publication of his birth certificate, thetraditional dinner annual correspondents at the White House, the American president is amused by this controversy. In front of an audience of influential guests, including Donald Trump, Barack Obama speaks: “No one is happier or more proud than our friend Donald to be able to draw a line on this birth certificate story. Because now he’ll be able to start focusing on the real issues again. Have we really been to the moon? “” The audience was laughing out loud; in the middle, Trump, mute, smiled yellow “, rewinds Barack Obama. But beyond the joke, the president understands, through the extent of this controversy, the growing importance of the billionaire on the political plan.

“Far from being ostracized because of the conspiracies he had peddled, on the contrary, Trump appeared more influential than ever.”

Barack Obama

in “A Promised Land”

“What I was sure was that he knew how to put on a show, and that in 2011 in the United States that in itself was a form of power. The currency Trump traded with, while superficial, seemed take a little more value every day “, analyse Barack Obama.

The launch of the assault on Bin Laden, despite Joe Biden’s reluctance

His memories of the spring of 2011 are also marked by the assault in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden, head of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. The former president tells about the preparations for the special forces raid and the uncertainties surrounding this mission. Doubt hovered over the presence or not of Bin Laden at the scene of the assault. “I know we try to be as specific as possible. But, at the end of the day, it’s 50-50. Let’s move on,” he ruled in the face of CIA officials on April 28, a few days before the launch of the operation. Its vice president, Joe Biden, disagreed: Joe spoke out against the raid option on the grounds that the risk of failure was too high and that I had better wait to make up my mind until the intelligence services confirmed that bin Laden was in the complex . “

“As every time since the beginning of my presidency, that an important decision presented itself, I appreciated the capacity of Joe [Biden] to step aside and ask the angry questions. “

Barack Obama

in “A Promised Land”

On May 2, 2011, the assault was finally launched. After abandoning his card game, to deceive his nervousness, the American president returns to the crisis room of the White House. “For the first and only time of my presidency, I witnessed a military operation in real time”, he says. Around the Head of State, Vice President Joe Biden, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, et “most of the national security team” are gathered. “When the helicopters got over the target, I got up from my chair and said, ‘I have to see this'”, remembers Barack Obama. After several minutes, special forces shoot down Osama bin Laden, including “it was without possible error”. “We got it”, then whispered the president in the crisis room.

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