Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett: Trump is driving America backwards, but there is hope

Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s longtime senior adviser, who had Obama’s ear throughout his two terms in the White House, suggested that President Trump is steering America in the opposite direction on “Salon Talks.”

“He said ‘I want to make American great again,’ like go backwards. Well, you know what? Go backwards for black people? I don't think that's so good. Go backwards for women? I don't think that's so good. Go backwards for those people on the border? I don't think that's so good,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett is optimistic about what happens after Trump. “This is the thing about our democracy, is it is always a work in progress. And if we aren't vigilant, we can't just presume we will always take steps forward,” she told SalonTV’s D. Watkins.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the increased activism around women’s rights and gun violence give Jarrett hope that many voters also have strong words for the president, plus the relatively diverse field of 2020 Democratic candidates.

Jarrett’s memoir, “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward,” available now, chronicles how she went from a friend of Michelle and Barack’s in the early 1990s to one of their closest confidantes and advisers, and how despite her early career success as a lawyer, she learned to advocate for herself and bring other women up along the way.

“I'm now at the stage just having written this book where I spent a lot of time looking back, and to me the question isn't did ‘I have it all, was everything perfect?’ The question is ‘did the multiple chapters add up to a whole life?’ Each one has trade offs. Each one has challenges,” she shared. “I can remember when my daughter was young, I felt like if I were just smarter, more efficient, better organized, then I could do this. And there must be something wrong with me that this is so hard. And it took me a while to realize no, no, no, it's just hard.”

Watch the episode above to learn more about Jarret’s foray into politics, first in Chicago and later, in Washington, and about the conversation Jarrett had with President Obama about giving women bigger roles at the White House.

About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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