WASHINGTON – President Obama was very diplomatic in his remarks about his successor Donald Trump during a news conference Monday, his first since Trump’s election.
While he has called his successor “woefully unprepared” for the White House, Obama avoided criticizing Trump, saying he thinks the Republican is sincere at wanting to be a successful president.
Mr. Obama also declined to comment when asked about the president-elect’s selection of Breitbart Chair Steve Bannon for a top White House position. The pick enraged civil rights groups, Democrats, and even some Republicans who say Bannon is a white nationalist racist.
“The people have spoken: Donald Trump will be the next president,” Obama said. “It will be up to him to set up a team he thinks will serve him well and reflect his policies.”
The president also said he still believes Democrats have better ideas, but they should think about how to better organize after their defeat in the latest election.
“We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere,” Obama said. “I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win, it was because I spent 75 days there.”
President Obama said after meeting with Mr. Trump he senses his successor will be pragmatic in governing. President-elect Trump revealed details about his plans on 60 Minutes Sunday night. Illegal immigration remains a top priority, Trump said.
“What we are going to do is get the criminals - the criminal records, gang members, criminals - probably 2 million people -- we’re getting them out of this country,” Trump said.
Trump said he would be flexible on some issues, like accepting a fence for parts of the promised wall on the southern border, and keeping parts of Obamacare.
As for the politics going forward, Democrats are looking to regroup, and Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, announced his candidacy for Democratic Party chairman Monday.