President Barack Obama has suggested that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is “disintegrating” because it has lost touch with “fact and reality”.
Mr Obama said that the Democrats are not at risk of “Corbynisation” and that even the party’s more left-wing figures like Bernie Sanders are more moderate than Jeremy Corbyn.
In an interview with David Axelrod, who advised the former Labour leader Ed Miliband, Mr Obama was asked if he feared that the democrats could fall apart like Labour.
He replied: “I don’t worry about that, partly because I think the Democratic Party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality.”
Mr Axelrod asked if Mr Obama was concerned about the “Corbynisation” of the Democratic party, after Labour “disintegrated in the face of their defeat”.
Mr Obama said that even Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator who finished runner-up to Hillary Clinton in the primaries, was “pretty centrist” compared to Mr Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn met Mr Obama when he visited the UK in April, but his criticism of a proposed US-EU trade deal and opposition to British intervention in Syria have not endeared him to the White House.
The Labour leader has been a longtime critic of Mr Obama’s foreign policy, once referring to him as “the Pentagon President”.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said that he “stands for what most people want” and suggested that the Democrats need to “challenge power if they are going to speak for working people”
In the new interview, Mr Obama also contended that he would have won a third term had he been the Democratic nominee in 2016, and insisted America did not reject his vision for the country when it elected Donald Trump.
Mr Obama said in the interview that Mrs Clinton “performed wonderfully”, but faced a double standard and chose to “play it safer” than she ultimately should have.
The president could not run in 2016 due to term limits, but said the results would have been different if he had been on the ballot and able to campaign on a message of unity and tolerance.
“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilised a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” he said.
Mr Trump responded to that claim on Monday night, saying there was “no way” he would have lost the election to Mr Obama.
“My intention on January 21st is to sleep, take my wife on a nice vacation – and she has said it better be nice… I’m going to start thinking about the first book I want to write,” he said.
Mr Obama also reflected on his life before he entered politics, in particular a “wildly pretentious” phase in his early 20s.
“Huge overcompensation. I’m humourless, and you know, have one plate and one towel and fasting on Sundays,” he recalled, “and friends start noticing that I’m begging off going out at night because I have to, you know, read, Sartre or something.”
He said he had recently read journal entries and love letters he wrote at the time and found them “impenetrable”.
“He needs to lighten up,” Mr Obama advised his younger self.
Mr Obama also discussed his rapid political rise, from failing to secure a credential for the 2000 Democratic National Convention to bursting onto the national scene at the 2004 convention.
“I basically couldn’t get in the hall and nobody knew my name. Four years later I’m doing the keynote speech. And it wasn’t as if I was so much smarter four years later… it speaks a little bit to the randomness of politics.”