Barack Obama says he does not intend on becoming Donald Trump’s constant critic, but suggested he may speak out if the President-elect’s policies breach certain “values or ideals”.
Speaking during his final international speech as leader, he also said “reality will force him [Mr Trump] to adjust”.
The 55-year-old departing president was joined by Vladimir Putin, Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
“I can’t guarantee that the President-elect won’t pursue some of the positions he’s taken,” said Obama.
“But what I can guarantee is that reality will force him to adjust how he approaches many of these issues. That’s just the way this office works.”
Obama also heaped praise on his predecessor, George W. Bush, saying he “could not have been more gracious to me when I came in” and subsequently wanted to give Trump the chance to pursue his agenda “without somebody popping off” at every turn.
But, in a vague and open-ended pedge, he suggested there may be limits to his silence.
He told reporters: "As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it's necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I'll examine it when it comes.”
Mr Trump spoke out throughout Mr Trump’s campaign calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants, the repealing of “Obamacare” and pulling out of the Paris climate deal.
Obama has warned Mr Trump might impulsively use nuclear weapons.
But he added: “My intention is to, certainly for the next two months, just finish my job.
“And then after that, to take Michelle on vacation, get some rest, spend time with my girls, and do some writing, do some thinking.”
On his final day in Peru, during his final world tour, Obama spoke for four minutes with Mr Putin about Ukraine and the Syria crisis.Reuse content