Obama says Republican allies "obviously didn't think there was any fraud going on" before Trump's baseless claims

Obama speaks out on White House transition
Obama speaks out on White House transition 02:52

Former President Barack Obama said it was "disappointing" to see Republicans supporting President Trump's baseless claims that the election was rigged. 

"They obviously didn't think there was any fraud going on because they didn't say anything about it for the first two days," he told Gayle King for "CBS Sunday Morning." "But there's damage to this because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it's dogcatcher or president, are servants of the people. It's a temporary job."

Mr. Obama sat down with the "CBS This Morning" co-host and Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" for his first televised interviews since the 2020 election ahead of the release of his new memoir, "A Promised Land." 

Speaking to King, the former world leader said presidents are "not above the rules."

"We're not above the law, that's the essence of our democracy," he said. 

In a preview for "CBS This Morning," Mr. Obama reflected on the start of his own administration and how his experience was different from the circumstances the current presidential transition.

"When Donald Trump won, I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him. His margin of victory over Hillary Clinton wasn't greater than Joe Biden's margin over him," he said.

He continued: "But if you are listening to some of the talk radio that Trump voters are listening to, if you're watching Fox News, if you're getting these tweets, those allegations are presented as facts. So you've got millions of people out there who think, 'Oh yeah, there must be cheating because the president said so.'"

During his own transition to the White House in 2008, Mr. Obama said former President and First Lady George and Laura Bush "could not have been more gracious."

In 2016 when it was time for him to leave, former President Obama had told the newly-elected President Trump that he wanted him to succeed because he wanted the U.S. to succeed.

Now, asked what's at stake while Mr. Trump, seemingly supported by allies, refuses to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's projected victory, Mr. Obama said there was "no legal basis" for the president's actions.

"Well, look, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States," he said. "Kamala Harris will be the next vice president." 

Watch the rest of Gayle King's interview on "CBS Sunday Morning" and Mr. Obama's "60 Minutes" interview with Scott Pelley on Sunday, November 15.