Reflecting on the election of Donald Trump on Tuesday, President Barack Obama expressed confidence in his own worldview a week after voters rejected the policies and ideals he espoused in his eight years in office.
Speaking in Athens, the president disagreed with the notion that his administration fueled the rise of the controversial real estate mogul, warning against the rise of crude nationalist sentiment that emerged during the campaign.
“I still don’t feel responsible for what the president-elect says or does,” Obama said at a press conference alongside Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “But I do feel responsibility for a good transition, and responsibility to present to him as well as the American people my best thinking, my best ideas about how you move the country forward.
“To speak out with respect to areas where I think the Republican Party is wrong, and to pledge to work with them on those things will advance the causes of security, prosperity, justice and inclusiveness in America.”
Obama alluded to his steady approval numbers, which have risen in the last few months, and called Tuesday’s election a “mismatch” of voter attitudes despite many in America being “indisputably better off” since he was elected.
“Last I checked, a pretty healthy majority of American people agree with my worldview on a whole bunch of things,” he said, after ticking off a number of initiatives he struggled to pass in Congress. “Sometimes people just feel as if we want to try something to see if we can shake things up.”
The president closed by urging Americans to “guard against a rise in crude nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an ‘us and a them,’” referring to the rise of white nationalism during the 2016 campaign.
“In the U.S.,” Obama added, “we know what happens when we start dividing ourselves along lines of race and ethnicity. It’s dangerous.”
“My vision is right on that issue,” he continued. “It may not always win the day in the short term, but I’m confident it’ll win the day in the long term.”