Donald Trump

Obama's Parting Words: Pride in Sasha and Malia, and a Last Message of Hope

"At my core, I think we're going to be okay. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted."

President Barack Obama took the last question of his last press briefing in the White House to brag about his two daughters, who "surprise and enchant and impress" him every day. 

Obama said he and his wife learned from 18-year-old Malia and 15-year-old Sasha in talking about the results of November's election, in which the family supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. The way they've bounced back  from their disappointment makes him optimistic about the generation that's coming of age in America today, he told reporters Wednesday.

Malia and Sasha "have not assumed, because their side didn't win or because some of the values that they care about don't seem as if they were vindicated, that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values," Obama said.

He was responding to a question about how he and Michelle Obama talked to their girls about the results of the election, during which Trump campaigned on reversing many of Obama's signature policies and values

The first lady campaigned about the election's high stakes for women, people of color, the LGBT community, and was was one of Trump's fiercest critics. She said in one speech that his comments about women in a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape were "cruel" and "not something we can sweep under the rug."

Sasha and Malia paid attention to those comments, Obama said, and they are consistent with how the girls were raised, being taught resilience and hope, and that "the only thing that's the end of the world is the end of the world," he said. "You get back to work. That tended to be their attitude."

He continued that he hopes his daughters will try to fix the country they love deeply yet see as flawed, and he said that's representative of the attitude many young people have today.

"They don't mope, and what makes me proudest about them is that they also don't get cynical about it," Obama said.

The remarks combined several themes Obama has been making lately, as his second term comes to a close. In his farewell address last week, he also argued that there's more reason to be optimistic about America than ever, and also praised his daughters as kind, thoughtful and full of passion.

And of course, the message that won him the White House in 2008 was one of hope, a theme he turned to as he concluded the press conference Wednesday.

He noted that, in recent off-the-record meetings, reporters have tried to ask him if his optimism is just for show, but Obama insisted at the news conference, under 48 hours before Trump takes over in the Oval Office, that it wasn't.

"This is not just a matter of 'No Drama Obama,' this is what I really believe," Obama said. "At my core, I think we're going to be okay. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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