President Obama, PLEASE DON’T GO!
On Sunday, the 44th President of the United States gave his final television interview as Commander-In-Chief, and we totally teared up!
The 55-year-old sat down with 60 Minutes‘ Steve Kroft to reflect on the past eight years, and the “unusual” transition we have ahead of us.
The darling Democrat discussed Donald Trump‘s “improvisational campaign,” saying:
“It’s unusual. I’ll agree with that. And I suspect the President-Elect will agree with that. Look, he’s an unconventional candidate. I don’t think there’s anybody who’s run a campaign like his successfully in modern history, not that I can think of.”
The Illinois native also touched on the racist Republican’s lack of relevant experience, adding:
“Now, he’s in the process of building up an organization, and we’ll have to see how that works. And it’ll be a test, I think for him, and the people that he’s designated to be able to execute on his vision.”
But, Barack chose not to share what he really feels about the reality star’s Twitter tirades:
“You know, you’re going to have to talk to him.”
However, he did warn the American people not to dismiss the power the p*ssy-grabber is inheriting:
“I think everybody has to acknowledge don’t underestimate the guy, because he’s going to be the 45th President of the United States.”
He also had a warning for Trump as well, sharing:
“The one thing I’ve said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that, as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions, don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place.”
And he noted what made Trump so successful, while leaving a warning for the next Prez about the intelligence community and the need to make friends in the government:
“I think that [Trump] was able to tap into a lot of grievances, and he has a talent for making a connection with his supporters that overrode some of the traditional benchmarks of how you run a campaign or how you conduct yourself as a President. ├óΓé¼┬ª You’re not going to be able to make good decisions without building some sort of relationship and trust between yourself and that [intelligence] community.”
Wise words, Mr. President, but we really won’t be surprised if Trump rolls up to his inauguration in five days to the Imperial March… Buuuut we digress.
Obama was far from done there, though; the Prez got real about his own time in the Oval Office, revealing that physical stamina and moral character turned out to be two incredibly important points throughout his eight years:
“One of the things I’m proud about is that I think my basic character ├óΓé¼┬ª Do you lose touch with what you thought was important, and what brought you here? And I’m proud that I don’t think I have lost touch. Thick skin helps. Stamina. There’s a greater physical element to this job than you would think. Just being able to grind it out, and your ability to not just mentally and emotionally but physically say, we got this, and we’re going to be OK.”
But interestingly — and perhaps more tellingly — Obama got real about the hyper-partisanship and bizarre behavior that has taken over Washington for a while now, saying:
“I was surprised and continue to be surprised by the severity of partisanship in this town. I was warned about it, and├óΓé¼┬ª I will confess that I didn’t fully appreciate the ways in which individual senators or members of congress now are pushed to the extremes by their voter bases. I did not expect, particularly in the midst of crisis, just how severe that partisanship would be. I am the first to acknowledge that I did not crack the code in reducing this partisan fever. I think the American people can change Washington, but it is not going to change because somebody from on high directs that change.
It indicates that there is a lot of cynicism out there. It indicates that the corrosive nature of everything from talk radio to fake news to negative advertising has made people lack confidence in a lot of our existing institutions. I think it indicates, at least on the Democratic side, that we’ve got more work to do to strengthen our grassroots to ensure that it works. ├óΓé¼┬ª The Tea Party I have huge disagreements with, obviously, but I give them credit for having activated themselves, and they made a difference in terms of moving the Republican Party and moving the country in a particular direction. It’s a direction that I disagree with, but it showed that if you get involved, your voice has an impact.”
Maybe the most telling quote of the entire interview, though, went down at the very end — when Kroft asked President Obama about what most concerned him with the country as he left office.
“Making sure that our democracy stays healthy, and making sure that we make sense of our solidarity. The thing that disturbs me most about the Russian hacking episode has not been the fact of Russian hacking, because the cyber world is full of information gathering, propaganda, etc. I have been concerned about the degree to which in some circles you’ve seen people suggest that Vladimir Putin has more credibility than the US government. I think that’s something new, and I think that’s a measure of how the partisan divide has gotten so severe, people forget we are on the same team.”
Wow. Scary, foreboding, and well-said — and maybe it’s something we should all listen to right now.
We’ll miss you, President Obama. You are a true class act.
[Image via CBS.]