President Obama says his priorities after leaving the White House are to write, spend time with his family and take some time for quiet reflection. But as a citizen, Obama said, there may be times he will speak out against his successor, Donald Trump.
“I’m still a citizen and I think it is important for Democrats or progressives who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this election to be able to distinguish between the normal back and forth, ebb and flow of policy,” Obama said Wednesday during his last press conference in Washington as president. “I’m confident on my rightness on a lot of these points, but we got a new president and a new Congress who are going to make the same determinations.”
“But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics,” Obama said, “and certain issues or certain moments where our core values are at stake.”
Among them, the president said, are “systematic discrimination,” voter suppression, “institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press” and the targeting of so-called DREAMers, or children who immigrated into the country illegally with their parents.
“And for me at least, I’d put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them someplace else,” Obama said.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and deport millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Critics have said such a plan would threaten the more than 700,000 young people protected from deportation under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that launched in 2012. Trump has said he is working on a plan to accommodate those children.
“The notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids, when they didn’t do something themselves … would merit my speaking out,” Obama said.
Earlier, the president said he plans to “spend precious time with my girls” and to make sure first lady Michelle Obama, his wife of nearly 25 years, is “willing to re-up and put up with” him.
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