“The people have spoken,” said President Barack Obama in his first post-election news conference. His tone was conciliatory and came across as reluctant, yet confident. It was as if he had put aside his opinions of Donald Trump and his victory in the election.
Although Obama mentioned his disagreements and concerns about Trump’s leadership, he gave clear reassurance that everything that has been accomplished in the last 8 years would not be undone and that his team is doing all they can to make it a smooth transition for Donald. Obama mentioned how George W. Bush held that standard for him when he entered into office and he wanted to honour that same courtesy.
Obama continued by saying, “I don’t think Donald is ideological. I think ultimately he is pragmatic. I also believe that he is sincere in wanting to be a successful president. My hope is he makes things better.”
But Obama clarified, “There are certain things that make for good sound bites but don’t always translate into good policy. There are certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognizes them and corrects them.”
“Trump will use gifts that obviously allowed him to execute one of the biggest political upsets in history to help all the American people.”
Obama steered away from speaking on Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. Bannon has worked as the chairman of Breitbart News. Breitbart News has been tainted for mainstreaming all kinds of racist and “alt right” content.
“Regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up,” said Obama. “And those aspects of his positions or predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself.”
At the White House, during his conversation with Trump, Obama said the president-elect also “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationship. So, one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance. I think that’s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship.”
Trump has been critical to the US role in NATO, indicating, “many members of the alliance aren’t paying their bills.” Trump explained that the U.S. would assist NATO countries “if they fulfill their obligations to us.”
Obama made it well known during this press conference the accomplishments he achieved while in office. He said, “the good news is that what we’ve been able to show over the last five, six, eight years is that it’s possible to grow the economy really fast and possible to bring down carbon emissions as well.”