Obama Urges Americans to Give Trump a Chance

He also said that the president-elect intends to honor the US commitment to NATO.


In his first news conference since Donald Trump’s election victory last week, President Barack Obama expressed hope that the new president-elect would “send some signals of unity” to groups around the country, especially minorities and women who remain fearful after Trump’s extreme campaign promises. Such anxieties were heightened on Sunday, after Trump announced that Stephen Bannon, who has propagated white nationalist sentiment as head of Breitbart News, would become his chief strategist and senior counsel.

“It would not be appropriate for me to comment on every appointment that the president-elect starts making,” Obama said on Monday when asked about Bannon’s appointment. “The people have spoken.”

Although he was given a number of opportunities to criticize Trump, Obama avoided any negative remarks and repeated his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition of power. “Do I have concerns?” he said. “Absolutely.” But he added that he believed the former reality television star and real estate mogul would be “pragmatic” moving forward.

“Campaigning is different from governing,” Obama said. “I think he recognizes that. I think he’s sincere in wanting to be a successful president.”

On the eve of his final trip abroad as president, Obama also called on Democrats to reflect on the party’s loss and prepare to be better organized for future elections.

“I believe we have better ideas, but good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them,” Obama said. “Given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere, we have to work at a grassroots level.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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