Barack Obama explains how and why he stays so serene in the face of Donald Trump being president

'It is a mistake to think that I’m just constantly biting my tongue'

Christopher Hooton
Monday 21 November 2016 16:02

Unshakeable. Unflappable. Unwavering. You could list synonyms that apply to Obama ad infinitum, and few would surely disagree with this, regardless of whether you think his demeanour shows intellectual elegance or political inefficacy.

Many Americans looked to him for some emotion, to share their sense of disbelief, when Donald Trump was elected president, but he remained as cool as ever.

“I don’t believe in apocalyptic, until the apocalypse comes,” he told the New Yorker with regard to the political climate this week, “I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.”

The interviewer pressed him, keen to get some sort of visceral reaction to a reality star president potentially undoing all his work over the best part of a decade, but Obama insisted his tranquillity is no front.

“Look, by dint of biography, by dint of experience, the basic optimism that I articulate and present publicly as President is real,” he said.

“It’s what I teach my daughters. It is how I interact with my friends and with strangers. I genuinely do not assume the worst, because I’ve seen the best so often.

“So it is a mistake that I think people have sometimes made to think that I’m just constantly biting my tongue and there’s this sort of roiling anger underneath the calm Hawaiian exterior. I’m not that good of an actor.

“I was born to a white mother, raised by a white mom and grandparents who loved me deeply. I’ve had extraordinarily close relationships with friends that have lasted decades. I was elected twice by the majority of the American people. Every day, I interact with people of good will everywhere.”

Obama believes that he has learned a huge amount in his eight years as president, so much so that he thinks, could he be reelected for a third term, he’d be a better president than ever.

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