David Cameron believed Barack Obama, a man with whom he appeared to share a warm and respectful relationship that even verged on a so-called bromance, was one of the “most narcissistic, self-absorbed people” he ever met, according to the ex-Prime Minister’s former strategy chief.
Steve Hilton, who was one of the former Premier’s closest advisers until they parted ways over his support for Brexit and tougher immigration laws, said the former president “thought he was smarter than everyone”.
Discussing the fall out triggered by the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which claims many of Donald Trump’s top aides believe he is mentally unfit to be President, Mr Hilton claimed Mr Trump was being attacked for his assault upon national and international elites.
“My old boss, former British prime minister David Cameron, thought Obama was one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed people he’d ever dealt with,” Mr Hilton said on his Fox News show.
“Obama never listened to anyone, always thought he was smarter than every expert in the room, and treated every meeting as an opportunity to lecture everyone else. This led to real-world disasters, like Syria and the rise of Isis.”
He said for the world’s elites, such problems were not an issue as they existed within their own bubble.
“For them, it’s all about style and tone, not substance and results. Donald Trump offends the elites aesthetically, like a piece of art that’s not to their taste,” he said.
“They can afford to do that because they live in a world of booming neighbourhoods, delightful hipster eateries and everyone they know employed in the virtual world of the knowledge economy. They don’t see what’s going on in the actual economy.”
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He added: “Whatever his mental state, [Trump] has achieved more for working Americans in one year than his predecessors did in eight, or sixteen, frankly.”
Mr Cameron and Mr Obama worked together on a variety of issues over the course of around six years. They were often photographed playing basketball and ping pong. Mr Cameron once said of his US counterpart: “Yes, he sometimes calls me ‘bro’.”
Mr Obama also threw his support behind Mr Cameron’s campaign to remain in the EU. Visiting in Britain in April 2016, he said it was up to Britons to decide whether or not to stay in the EU. Yet he said he feared the country would move to the “back of the queue” in any trade deal if it left.
A spokesman for Mr Cameron denied Mr Hilton’s claims.
“This does not represent David Cameron’s opinion at all and could not be further from the truth,” he said in a statement.
“David Cameron’s views on President Obama – whether in public or in private – are the same: he considers Barack Obama a hugely accomplished president, a great partner for Britain and a good friend to our country and to him personally.”
Mr Obama has yet to respond to the comments.