On January 10, President Obama gave his farewell speech to Americans as he prepares to leave office on January 20. The speech was given in Chicago, where the President started his career in his early 20’s. President Obama discussed American accomplishments and changes- the Affordable Care Act, revival of the auto industry, marriage equality- during his eight years as President. As his speech continued, he began to talk about the peaceful transfer of power that will happen after January 20; President Obama will give his power to President Elect Trump. The crowd in attendance at the speech began chanting out cries of “No!” and “Four more years!”, but then President Obama calmed the crowd and explained that this is what democracy means.
“Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued. They quarreled. Eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity — the idea that for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.” President Obama also talked about divisions- both racial and political-that are prevalent in America. He described that all sides of each and every argument need to effectively communicate and truly try to understand the other- quoting Atticus Finch from the American classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” President Obama described the power that ordinary Americans hold to change the democracy by being politically active or promoting the change or point of view they want to see in the country. One final question was asked by President Obama to the American people, “But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.” President Obama finished by saying, “Yes, we did. Yes, we can.”
On January 11, President Elect Donald Trump gave his first press conference as President Elect. This press conference also held significance because it was the first day in 167 days for the President Elect. Sean Spicer, PEOTUS Trump’s press secretary, introduced VPEOTUS Pence and PEOTUS Trump, but first he explained several events that have happened in the last few days. Buzzfeed, a left-leaning Internet blog and sometimes news site, released an unverified 35 page report that alleged scandalous relations between the President Elect and some of his transition team members and officials with Russia. One allegation of the unverified report was that Russian operatives obtained information on PEOTUS Trump’s personal and finance information. The report was unverified and Buzzfeed said the 35 pages of memos were released “so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.” Although the report has not been verified as true, CNN picked up the story and focused more on who had seen the documents, was involved in the documents, and unnamed sources within the documents. Secretary Spicer then introduced VPEOTUS Pence.
VP-Elect Mike Pence began by telling the American people about how the President Elect’s vision was both inspiring during the campaign and now even more inspiring during the transition. After describing the cabinet of the President Elect and their hearing schedules, VP Elect Pence commented about how the media has been perceiving the election and the transition by describing the bias of the media that is against and meant to demean the events. VP Elect Pence has said many times that he is a supporter and will always be a supporter of the free press, but is upset about press organizations running unverified and false stores. VP-elect then introduced President-elect Donald Trump.
President-elect Trump opened the press conference by commenting on the state of the media’s opinion of him. President- elect Trump thanked the news organizations covering him, especially with the ‘fake’ or unverified news. As automobile businesses, like Ford, begin to bring jobs back into the United States, President-elect Trump commented that he has “been very active economically”. PEOTUS also discussed F-35 planes and other military aircraft with plans to get costs down along with other industries, such as pharmaceuticals. “I look very much forward to the inauguration, it’s going to be a beautiful event,” said Trump. He is excited to hear the bands and talented performers on Inauguration Day as well as see predicted massive crowds. “It’s a movement like the world has never seen before,” said Trump. “It’s a movement that a lot of people didn’t expect.” Following a brief description of how amazing it was to watch the election results come in, Trump discussed veteran care. “Our veterans have been treated horribly,” said Trump. His goal with his nominee for Secretary of the Veterans Administration, David Shulkin, is to improve veteran healthcare. The example provided by the President elect was a common situation where a veteran may start with treatable cancer, but by the time they get to see a physician, it could be too late.
During questions, the President-elect answered impending questions from the press. The first question asked addressed the recently leaked or released unverified intelligence report alleging Trump’s campaign and administration contact with Russia as well as alleged Russian hacking. PEOTUS said that he could not talk about what went on inside the intelligence meeting, but said that the unverified report was fake news. He also said that he believed that the Russians (as with the Chinese) do hack and did hack the DNC. During his term, Trump would like to improve cyber defense.
When asked how and if he would build a better relationship with Vladimir Putin, PEOTUS responded, discussing the release of the unverified statement by saying, “ President Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. They said it totally never happened. Now somebody would say, “oh, of course he’s going to say that” — I respected the fact that he said that.” He then said if Russia did have something, they would release it.
One reporter asked him his opinion of how the unverified intelligence report read that Putin hacked because he aspired to help him win the Presidency. “Well, if Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability. Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia,” said Trump. He then said Russia could help defeat Isis. PEOTUS said he wants to try to get along with Putin, but there is a good chance he won’t. On another question related to Russia and the possibility of blackmail [due to allegations of indecent actions with Russian prostitutes], Trump responded by discussing that he is extremely careful when traveling internationally because of advanced camera technology that allows easy spying. Trump also said that he has no business deals with Russia, but a $2 million dollar deal with a developer in Dubai. A reporter wanted to see Trump’s tax returns to prove that he does not have any business relations in Russia, but Trump says he will not release them. Additionally he said that “you learn very little from a tax return” and that his business is international and in many countries. Trump also said that he is not running his business anymore, but he could if he wanted to.
Trump continues the press conference with discussing more of his business and plans for his term while addressing the press. To read the full press transcript click here.