Politics

Obama 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Trump, Has Warning

| by Sheena Vasani

President Barack Obama says he is "cautiously optimistic" about President-elect Donald Trump's upcoming presidency, but added his successor will not last long if he doesn't take his job seriously.

"There's something about the solemn responsibilities of that office, the extraordinary demands that are placed on the United States, not just by its own people, but by people around the world that forces you to focus, " said Obama while in Germany, the Daily Mail reports. "And if you're not serious about the job, then you probably won't be there very long because it will expose problems."

Obama also explained Trump must be willing to reach out and listen to various groups to do well. At the same time, the president said he will do his best to ensure Trump succeeds.

It wasn't just Trump that Obama wanted to caution, it was also American citizens, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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After being questioned about the anti-Trump protests after the elections, Obama said he would not silence their voices.

"One of the great things about our democracy is it expresses itself in all sorts of ways and that includes people protesting," he explained."I would not advise people who feel strongly or are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign, I wouldn't advise them to be silent."

He added, "What I would advise ... is that elections matter, voting matters, organizing matters, being informed on the issues matter ... democracy is weakened, when 43 percent of the American electorate doesn't turn out to vote."

In addition, Obama also encouraged citizens to communicate better with each other, urging them to engage in more serious, nuanced political debate.

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He warns democracy will "break down" if people -- regardless of political party -- "are not willing to compromise and engage in the democratic process, and are taking absolutist views and demonizing opponents."

Obama also called out social media platforms, where he says false information often abounds.

"In an age of social media where so many people are getting their information in soundbites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems."

Sources: Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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