President Obama Urges Donald Trump to Send ‘Signals of Unity’ to Women and Minorities

President Barack Obama urged Donald Trump to reach out to women and minority groups after his divisive campaign in remarks delivered on Monday, November 14.

Speaking at a press conference from the White House, President Obama said President-elect Trump should move to reassure Americans left fearful by the businessman’s inflammatory campaign rhetoric. Obama’s remarks came after days of nationwide anti-Trump protests and reports of women and minorities being harassed and targeted by Trump supporters since the Republican’s stunning upset win in the presidential election on Tuesday, November 8.

“I did say to him, as I’ve said publicly, that because of the nature of campaigns and the bitterness and the ferocity of the campaigns, it’s really important to send some signals of unity and reach out to minority groups, or women, or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign, and I think that’s something that he will want to do," POTUS said, adding that “gestures matter.”

U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference at the White House briefing room in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a press conference at the White House briefing room in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The outgoing president also said he thinks Trump — who at various points during his controversial campaign vowed to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, promised to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and pledged to rip up and renegotiate trade agreements with China — will adjust his policies once the difficult reality of governing sinks in.

“There are certain things that make for good sound bites but don’t always translate into good policy, and that’s something that he and his team will wrestle with,” said Obama, who met with Trump at the White House on Thursday, November 10.

“I don’t think he is ideological. I think ultimately he is pragmatic,” the commander-in-chief said of the former reality TV star.

Obama also sought to reassure anxious world leaders after Trump’s shocking win. Obama made his remarks before he departs this week for his final foreign trip as president with a weeklong visit to Greece, Germany and Peru.

While on the campaign trial, Trump said he wanted to reduce the U.S.’ involvement in NATO and let Europe step up to pay for defense instead. But Obama said on Monday that Trump “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, and so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Obama also addressed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss in the Tuesday, November 8, general election, saying Democrats need to work on getting their message out to more people.

“I believe that we have better ideas,” Obama said of the Democratic Party. “But I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them. … Given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. … I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and VFW hall,” Obama said.

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