President Obama Speech Today 11/20/16 final speech as US President at international event.
Outgoing US President Barack Obama has attended his final media conference at an international event, praising his administration over the past eight years and urging a wait-and-see approach to Donald Trump’s tenure.
Speaking at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation in Lima, Peru, Mr Obama fielded questions about his own presidency, President-elect Trump and the future of the Democratic party.
“The touchstone is what’s good for the American people,” Mr Obama said.
“That’s worked for me. It means that, at the end of the day, and at the end of eight years, I can look back and I can say that I consistently did what I thought was best.
“That doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes, but it means that you’re being true to your oath and the commitments you made to the people who elected you.”
Quizzed on some of Mr Trump’s more controversial campaign promises, Mr Obama insisted the Republican victor would be forced to reassess once the weight of the role became apparent to him.
“I can’t guarantee that the President-elect won’t pursue some of the positions that he’s taken,” he said.
“But what I can guarantee is that reality will force him to adjust how he approaches many of these issues. That’s the way this office works.
“I’ve said before, if these issues were easy — if ensuring prosperity, jobs, security, good foreign relations with other countries — if all that was simple, then it would have been done. By every previous President.”
Mr Obama also said he was “not optimistic” about the short-term prospects in Syria.
He said it became hard for moderate opposition forces to hold ground once Russia and Iran decided to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with an air campaign.
Mr Assad “decided that destroying his country, turning and seeing its population scattered or killed was worth it for him to cling to power”, Mr Obama said.
In his wide-ranging speech, Mr Obama was also eager to stress the US’s global responsibilities, describing it as an “indispensable nation in our world order”.
“We’re not going to be able to handle every problem, but the American President and the United States of America, if we’re not on the side of what’s right, if we’re not making the argument and fighting for it — even if sometimes we’re not able to deliver it 100 per cent everywhere — then it collapses,” he said.
“There’s nobody to fill the void. There really isn’t.
“There are other very important countries like China where, if it weren’t for China’s cooperation, we couldn’t have gotten the Paris agreement done, but China’s not the one who was going around organising 200 nations to sign on to a Paris agreement.
“Russia is a very significant military power but they’re not worrying right now about how to rebuild after a hurricane in Haiti. We are.
“I’ve said before that’s a burden we should carry proudly. I would hope that, not just the 45th President of the United States but every President of the United States, understands that that’s not only a burden but also an extraordinary privilege.
“If you have a chance to do that right, then you should seize it.”
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