barack obama

Obama to Clinton Voters: 'We Go Forward With a Presumption of Good Faith in Our Fellow Citizens'

Obama to Clinton Voters: 'We Go Forward With a Presumption of Good Faith in Our Fellow Citizens'
Photo via AP

“The sun is up,” Barack Obama said in his first public remarks since Donald Trump was elected president. “I know everybody had a long night. I did as well.”

Addressing the nation from the Rose Garden, Obama said he called Trump early Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his victory and to invite him to the White House on Thursday to discuss the upcoming transition. “It is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,” the President said, before pointing out that so did he with his predecessor, George W. Bush, whose staff was very professional in enabling the peaceful transition of power. “The presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us,” Obama said, before promising to “work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president elect.”

The president also spoke to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, and listened to her concession speech this morning. “I could not be prouder of her. She has led an extraordinary life of public service,” he said. “Her nomination sends a message to our daughters, that they can achieve at the highest levels of politics.”

Obama then addressed disgruntled Clinton supporters directly, reminding them that “we’re actually all on one team,” and that no matter how acrimonious the election got it was still “an intramural scrimmage.”

“We’re not Democrats first; we’re not Republicans first: We’re Americans first; we’re patriots first,” he continued. “We all want what’s best for our country. That’s what I heard in Donald Trump’s speech last night, and that’s what I heard when I spoke to him. And I was encouraged by that.”

To young voters, he said: “You have to stay encouraged. Don’t get cynical. You have to know you can make a difference...Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election. The path this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag. Sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and other people think is back.”

“That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try to persuade people we’re right. And then they vote. And if we lose, we learn from our mistakes and try even harder next time,” he said. “We go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens. That presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy.”

His full speech can be seen here:

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