Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday midday, president Barack Obama said he was looking forward to doing everything he could to make sure the next president, Donald Trump, was successful.
In an informal speech using a series of sporting references and referring to the presidency as a relay, Obama said he wanted to “make sure the handoff is well-executed because ultimately we are on the same team.”
Speaking alongside vice president Joe Biden, Obama conceded: “It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences.”
But Obama added: “We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first. We’re Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best…”
Echoing comments made by defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Obama said: “The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.” He confirmed: “I have instructed my team to follow the example that president Bush’s team set eight years ago.”
Obama had words of praise for Clinton: “I could not be prouder of her. She has led an extraordinary life of public service.”
The president also had words of encouragement for young people: “Don’t get cynical. As secretary Clinton said this morning: Fighting for what’s right is worth it,” adding: “To the young people who got into politics for the first time, and may be disappointed by the results…you have to stay encouraged.
“If we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection… and we get back in the arena. We get back at it,” Obama said.
In what may have been preparatory words for his own legacy, Obama praised his own team for their hard work: “Everyone on my team should be extraordinarily proud of everything they have done.”
Obama, who has been the subject of many of Trump’s negative comments for his policies and for his individual standing said: “We all want what’s best for this country, and that’s what I heard from Mr. Trump last night.”