In an interview on NBC’s “Today Show” with Jenna Bush Hager, Obama expressed optimism that the partisan divisions in the country will subside.
The daughter of former President George W. Bush asked Obama whether the country can come back from the divisive situation unfolding in Washington, D.C., as polls show Americans largely split along party lines on impeachment.
“It’s surreal, I think,” said Obama, speaking from Vietnam, where she is on a trip to promote the education of young girls.
“For the last impeachment hearing [in 1998], a lot of young people weren’t around for that. I don’t think people know what to make of it. But do I think we can come back from it? Oh yeah.
“We’ve seen worse times, we’ve seen tough times in this country. You know, we’ve gone through depressions and wars and bombings and terrorist attacks, and we’ve gone through Jim Crow, and we’ve always come out stronger. And that’s what we have to continue to believe because what’s our choice? To ball up in a corner and call it a day? Well, that’s not fair to this next generation that’s coming before us that are counting on us to get this right,” she added.
Obama said the country should not view it as a battle of “us or them” or of Democrats versus Republicans.
“We are all here as part of this country. We all want the same things, it’s just sometimes that gets lost in the noise,” she concluded. Her comments came as three lawyers testified Monday before the House Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers received the impeachment inquiry’s official findings during an unruly hearing where lawyers from both parties sparred in blunt terms over whether President Trump abused his power in dealings with Ukraine — while committee members clashed repeatedly over a process Republicans decried as a “rubber stamp.”
The hearing – which consisted of lawyers for both parties essentially making their closing arguments, including by showing video clips of key statements from witnesses, Trump and others – comes as the committee is expected to vote in the coming days on articles of impeachment.