In his final international speech before he leaves the White House in January, Obama said he could not guarantee Trump would not try to implement controversial positions he took during campaign but he could guarantee “reality will force him to adjust” how he approaches the issues.
Speaking at the Apec meeting in Peru, Obama also said he did not intend to become his successor’s constant critic – but reserved the right to speak out if Trump or his policies breached certain “values or ideals”.
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off,” Obama said. He added, if an issue “goes to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes”.
Obama also defended the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which his successor Donald Trump has called a “terrible deal” for the US and American jobs. Not pushing the deal forward would undermine the US’ ability to “shape the rules of global trade”, Obama said, according to Reuters. The APEC also released a statement at the end of its summit on the issue of free trade, vowing to “fight against all forms of protectionism”.
Trump won the US presidential elections on November 8 against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state, however, won in the popular vote, while Trump secured more than the requisite 270 electoral college votes.