President Obama’s final press conference was one of both reflection and subtle rebuke toward incoming President-elect Donald Trump, defending voting rights and a free press, all while reassuring the American people that “at my core, I think we’re going to be OK.”
Obama did show some deference toward Trump — sidestepping a question about the more than five dozen Democrats in Congress who are boycotting the inauguration on Friday. “All I know is I’m going to be there, and so is Michelle,” he said.
And striking an upbeat tone at the end, Obama maintained that despite being disappointed that Democrat Hillary Clinton hadn’t won, there shouldn’t be dread ahead.
“The only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world,” Obama said, quoting advice he had given his own daughters after the election.
“I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad,” Obama said.
But he did have some advice for his successor, warning Trump not to become isolated in the Oval Office and to rely on his advisers.
“This is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself,” the president said. “You are enormously reliant on a team.”
And Obama said that while it was appropriate for the incoming Republican administration to make shifts in policy, he also warned that, “if you’re going to make big shifts in policy, just make sure you’ve thought it through.”
Obama said his post-presidential plans including wanting “to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much.”
But he did say there would be issues he wouldn’t hesitate to speak out on after he leaves office, if he believes the country’s “core values may be at stake.” Obama said that would include “systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion,” an assault on voting rights, “institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press” and “efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and, for all practical purposes, are American kids, and send them someplace else.”
Obama greatly defended the rights of a free press, seeming to
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