Obama Uses His Final Press Conference to Warn Trump That “He Will Step in if He Needs To”
Obama might not go away as easily as we wished.
At his last scheduled news conference before leaving office on Friday, Obama said if there was ‘systemic discrimination,’ efforts to ‘silence dissent’ or to ‘roll back voting rights,’ he would be ‘speaking out.’
It was among his most activist descriptions of his next act, and indicates Obama may be rethinking his post-presidency role and heeding the urging of some activists to play a stronger function in the leaderless Democratic Party as it navigates the Trump administration.
That group of issues, Obama explained, were ‘core values that may be at stake’ and would prompt him to get off the sidelines.
‘If I saw systematic discrimination [is] being ratified in some fashion. I put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise,’ Obama said.
He continued: ‘I put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press.’
He saved some of his most impassioned remarks for DREAMers. ‘And for me, at least, I would 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, when they love this country, they are our kids’ friends and their classmates and are now entering into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military …’
‘The notion that we would just arbitrarily, or because of politics, punish those kids, when they didn’t do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out. It doesn’t mean that I would get on the ballot anywhere.’
His comment about DREAMers references immigrants brought here illegally as children. Obama issued executive actions to protect them from deportation, but their fate is now in limbo.