“It’s not my intention to be the old man at the bar who’s just kind of hanging on,” President Obama joked to The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in a 20-minute conversation about life after the White House. “But I don’t anticipate that I’ll suddenly vanish.”
The outgoing president gave two specific issues he would be vocal about should they arise: if a registry of Muslim Americans is created that “violates the Constitution” and endangers the American public by incentivizing home-grown terrorism. Second, if Dream Act beneficiaries – young people who immigrated to America as children – are being “rounded up,” he said. “[That’s] contrary to who we are as a nation of laws and of immigrants.”
Obama said that it’s important for him to personally recharge and focus on being a good citizen. He thinks that the incoming Trump administration needs space and the American public needs clarity about what the administration enacts. On controversial issues where Trump and Obama disagree, like climate change, incarceration rates and the Affordable Care Act, Obama said he has counseled the president-elect to face the issues directly. “I said to [Trump], you can find different approaches to deal with problems,” he said. “What you can’t do is pretend they’re not problems.”
The president also said he believes Trump will get daily intelligence briefings when he’s in office, despite what the president-elect said about needing fewer briefings when in office. “It doesn’t matter how smart you are,” said Obama. He added that making presidential decisions without consulting United States intelligence agencies is like “flying blind.” “I think the president-elect will say one thing then do another once he’s here,” said Obama.
“The federal government is like an aircraft carrier, not a speed boat,” Obama said thoughtfully. “Turning it is hard.”
Watch the full interview below where Obama discusses Hillary Clinton’s emails, Russia cyber hacks, modern racism and more via Comedy Central: