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On Trump, Obama Says He Will Be 'Respectful,' Avoid Criticizing Successor

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama says he wants to be "respectful" of the office and give his successor the chance to present his platform without someone "popping off" all the time.

At his last scheduled international news conference following an APEC summit in Lima, Peru, Sunday, a reporter asked Obama if he will speak out if he sees Donald Trump undoing many of the policies that defined the Obama White House.

Obama said his plans right now are to finish his term, take first lady Michelle on vacation, spend time with his daughters, write, and think.

Obama said the job of president will force Trump to adjust on how he approaches the issues, which means he will have to govern more by reality and less on the rhetoric that helped him win the election.

He also said the Democratic Party does not need an overhaul despite the drubbing it took on election night. Obama noted that most Americans still agree with Democratic positions on gun control, health care and raising the minimum wage.

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. Speaking in Lima, Obama said the job of president will force Trump to adjust on how he approaches the issues.

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. Speaking in Lima, Obama said the job of president will force Trump to adjust on how he approaches the issues.

On Russia, Syria

Obama said the issue of alleged Russian interference in the election did not come up when he met on the sidelines of the Lima summit with President Vladimir Putin.

Obama said if the U.S. has elections that are not focused on the issues but are driven by fake news, false information, and distractions, he is more concerned about what Americans are doing to themselves from the inside than what is done from the outside.

He described his brief talk with Putin as candid and courteous, saying it focused on Syria and Ukraine.

Obama said he would like to see the Minsk peace deal for Ukraine come into full force before his term is up in exactly two months.

But the president said he is "not optimistic" about short-term prospects in Syria with Russia and Iran backing President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo.

Obama said he spent the last five years "wrestling" over how the U.S. should get involved in Syria.

There may have been a moral justification, but the president said there was no legal basis for military intervention, saying it would have been a strategic mistake.

He said the U.S. has to make sure to avoid statements that would further radicalize Muslims around the world, especially those he calls law-abiding Muslims in the United States and Europe.

The president called them "key allies."

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