Outgoing President Barack Obama has delivered his final speech as US President. During the speech he urged that America would be fine in the future by declaring “At my core I think we’re going to be ok”. The President tried to remain upbeat but there was more than a tinge of doubt. He added “I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad.”
During the conference he noted that he would be attempting to stay out of the Trump Presidency, but did note that if he felt that the “core values” of the Presidency were being threatened then he would be willing to openly criticise the new President. He also called on the media to make the President accountable noting that they weren’t meant to be “sycophants” but instead were meant to be “sceptics”.
He also referred to the case of Chelsea Manning. His decision to communicate her sentence has been soundly jumped on by Republicans who see Manning as a traitor. But Obama took a different view, he noted that with all the circumstances considered the decision to release her was the right one. He noted that the sentence handed down was disproportionate to the crime committed and that “justice had been served” during the sentence that she had already served.
Obama also noted a warning on any future relationship with Russia, stating that relations had been warming before Vladimir Putin came back in to the fray in 2012. He described Putin as having an “adversarial spirit” which had made their relationship “difficult”. He did though note that a good relationship between the countries was “in America’s interest and the world’s interest.”
Obama has continued the recent trend for President’s to give a press conference shortly before they leave office. The conference was made easier by Obama’s clean record in office and his 60% approval rating on leaving office. This was somewhat opposite of his successor’s recent clashes with the media. Trump only last week delivered an incoherent and combative press conference with the assembled news media, and has been soundly criticised for his poor performance.
Trump’s handling of the media will only increase the pressure during his Presidency, as the media will have a large part to play in any future success for Trump. While he entered on a wave of anti-politics, he is now a politician and will come under the glare that surrounds those in high office. With his media handling skills being somewhat questionable the question remains, can Trump really pull of being President of the United States?
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.