Although President Obama wouldn’t say if he personally still believes that President-elect Donald Trump is unfit for the office–as he did during the campaign–Obama said on Monday that the billionaire will have to face “reality” awfully quick when he takes office.
“Regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up,” Obama told reporters during his first press conference since Trump’s election. “Reality has a way of asserting itself.”
“Do I have concerns? Absolutely, I have concerns,” he went on to say.
The press conference comes after Obama met with Trump in the Oval Office for the first time last week, where the president said Trump affirmed his commitment to our NATO allies, despite causing widespread alarm during the campaign when Trump said he might not come to the aid of America’s allies.
Obama also offered a succinct analysis of what made Trump’s campaign tick. Yes, Trump capitalized on voters’ “anxieties,” Obama said, but the billionaire also drove turnout by capturing their enthusiasm in a way that Clinton did not.
“That connection he was able to make made him impervious to events that might have sunk another candidate,” he said, calling to mind the Access Hollywood snafu and mounting sexual assault allegations in the final months of the race. “That’s powerful stuff.”
Asked about the upheaval in his own party triggered by Hillary Clinton’s widely unexpected loss, Obama offered an implicit critique of the former secretary of state’s campaign, saying, “We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere.”
As the post-mortem analysis of the Democrats’ crushing loss continues, many have blamed Team Clinton for largely ignoring the so-called Rustbelt states in favor of courting moderate Republicans–which led to stunning losses in the “blue wall” states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Obama also admonished voters who simply didn’t show up at the polls at all, saying Trump’s election is a reminder that “elections matter, and voting counts.”
Maybe in four years, the Democrats will put forward a candidate that Americans feel is worth their vote.