A day after the election, President Barack Obama sat down with Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner to discuss his legacy as POTUS, Donald Trump's win and what's next for him and First Lady Michelle Obama after they leave the White House.
For his 10th Rolling Stone cover, Obama, 55, met with Wenner at the Oval Office hours after Trump, 70, defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in a stunning upset. First and foremost, the president opened up about his feelings on the election results.
"Well, I'm disappointed, partly because I think Hillary Clinton would be a very fine president," Obama shared. "As I said on the campaign trail, a lot of the work we've done is only partially complete. And we need some continuity in order for us to maximize its benefits. ... That's the thing about democracy. That's the thing about voting. It doesn't mean polls are irrelevant, but there is always a human variable involved in this. So I think the odds of Donald Trump winning were always around 20 percent. That [doesn't] seem like a lot, but one out of five is not that unusual. It's not a miracle."
Obama, who was an avid supporter of Clinton throughout her campaign, reflected on the consequences of a Trump presidency, saying that the next Supreme Court justice will not reflect Obama's "understanding of the Constitution," the progress made on climate change will be "threatened" and the Affordable Care Act will be "modified in ways that some people are going to be hurt by."
Reflecting on his own terms in the White House, the commender in chief said, "I couldn't be prouder of the work that we've done over the last eight years. When I turn over the keys to the federal government to the next president of the United States, I can say without any equivocation that the country is a lot better off: The economy is stronger, the federal government works better and our standing in the world is higher. And so I can take great pride in the work we've done. I can take great satisfaction in the people we've helped."
As for what's next? The president said he plans to sleep "for a couple of weeks" after he leaves the White House in January before taking wife Michelle, 52, "on a well-deserved vacation" and writing a book. He also said that Michelle "will never run for office," but that they will stay involved in the political community.
"I will continue to be very active," he explained, "and Michelle is going to continue to be very active — and [on] the very thing that brought us here, which is our belief that when you work with people on the ground at a grassroots level, change happens. When people feel disconnected from the institutions of government, they can swing back and forth in all sorts of ways."
Speaking on his advice for Trump, Obama said, "You're making the decisions that you think are right for the American people — even when they're not popular, even when they're not expedient. And the satisfaction you get from that is that when you leave this place, you can feel like you've been true to this immense privilege and responsibility that's been given to you."
To read the full interview, visit RollingStone.com.
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