Obama, Bruce Springsteen in joint interview admit: Trump filled void, changes to America happening ‘too rapidly’ for many

Former President Barack Obama claimed during a Monday interview that some Americans believe changes to society and culture cannot happen fast enough but for others, it is coming “too rapidly” for their liking.

“You end up having, on the one hand, change happening very rapidly, too rapidly for a big portion of the population,” Obama observed on “CBS Mornings” in an interview alongside Bruce Springsteen. “For another portion of the population, it’s like, ‘You know, how long are we gonna keep having to defer this dream?'”

Obama and Springsteen were appearing for their first joint interview to promote a new book being distributed this week that is based on their Spotify podcast bearing the same name, “Renegades: Born in the U.S.A.”

CBS co-host Anthony Mason asked Springsteen if he saw himself as an “outsider.”

“That’s the American story, you know? When I was young, I felt voiceless. I felt invisible, and I think we’re in trouble and that a lot of people do feel very voiceless,” the legendary rocker responded before ripping into former President Donald Trump.

“And Donald Trump was, you know, he had the cynicism and the carny ability to play on that part of our weakness,” he said, echoing previous criticism of the 45th president who succeeded Obama, once noting that Trump doesn’t “have a grasp of the deep meaning of what it means to be an American.”

“It’s just frightening, you know?” Springsteen said in October 2019 speaking about Trump’s presidency with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King. “We’re living in a frightening time.”

“The stewardship of the nation has been thrown away to somebody who doesn’t have a clue as to what that means. And unfortunately, we have somebody who I feel doesn’t have a grasp of the deep meaning of what it means to be an American,” he added then.

Springsteen continued on that theme in his Monday CBS interview.

“I think we’re going to be in a lot of trouble if you can’t find a way to engage a lot of people who feel disaffected — whether it’s by technological change, whether it’s by the post-industrialization,” Springsteen, 72, said.

Obama, 60, agreed with the Broadway performer.

“I think that part of what we tried to do in the podcast was to get everybody to feel a little more willing to recognize, you know, our own faults,” the former president said, adding that leaving the Oval Office after two terms was a “little bit like figuring out how to make a transition from a player to a coach.”

“You’re not going to get the same, maybe, highs that you got when you were on the court,” said Obama, who played varsity basketball in high school.

Obama went on to claim that his wife and former first lady Michelle Obama pressed him to develop a closer relationship with Springsteen after the rocker sang at a campaign rally for the then-U.S. senator from Illinois in 2008 as he made his first White House run.

“Michelle says, ‘You know, you need to spend more time with Bruce,'” Obama explained.

“I said, ‘Well, why’s that?’ She says, ‘Well, he understands all his failings and flaws as a man, and you don’t seem to understand as well just exactly how messed up you are,'” the former president said.

Obama was asked how he responded to the remark. Laughing, he noted, “I said, ‘You’re right.'”

The former commander-in-chief awarded Springsteen the Presidential Medal of Freedom on his way out the door in November 2016.


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Jon Dougherty


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