President Barack Obama signaled he might resist some of Donald Trump’s policies after his term ends rather than quietly withdrawing from the political conversation.
In the final press conference of his last international trip as president, Obama said he wouldn’t hesitate to criticize his Republican successor if “necessary.”
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the President-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Obama said, adding: “If there’s specifics that have less to do with some proposal or battle but goes to the core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideal then I’ll examine it when it comes.”
And then there were these comments reported by The New York Times where he made clear that he’ll speak up if he feels Trump is unraveling too much of his legacy.
“I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen,” Obama told a meeting last week of Organizing for Action. “But that’s not so far off.”
Finally, he told The New Yorker he sees his post-presidency in a new light:
“I think that if Hillary Clinton had won the election then I’d just turn over the keys,” he said. “We’d make sure the briefing books were in order and out we go. I think now I have some responsibility to at least offer my counsel to those who will continue to be elected officials about how the D.N.C. can help rebuild, how state parties and progressive organizations can work together.”
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s top strategist, opened up to a pair of outlets over the weekend and made some revealing comments about his boss’ opening year in office.
Bannon compared Trump’s White House to the economic populism that fueled Andrew Jackson’s tenure as well as FDR’s 1930s jobs programs in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter:
“It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan,” Bannon said. “With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”
And he pushed back at claims he is an anti-Semitic white nationalist in a Wall Street Journal interview, where he also discussed Trump’s tactical electoral strategy.
The claim that the Trump campaign was chaotic in the final months is wrong, Mr. Bannon says. It benefited from “excellent data” furnished by the Republican National Committee and an operation in San Antonio set up by Mr. Kushner. The campaign was looking closely at “rural communities and the hinterlands that held a lot of votes,” which the Clinton campaign had “basically ceded” to Republicans. Mrs. Clinton also made the mistake of trying to “close the deal on a coalition” (minorities, millennials) that “she’d never closed on before.”
Mrs. Clinton aside, the reason Mr. Trump won, he says, “is not all that complicated. The data was overwhelming: This is a change election. People weren’t happy with the direction of the country. So all you had to do was to give people permission to vote for Donald Trump as an agent of change, make sure he articulated that message.” That, and paint Mrs. Clinton as “the guardian of a corrupt and incompetent elite and status quo.” Mr. Bannon believes Mr. Trump to be uniquely suited to make the case, as “one of the best political orators in American history, rated with William Jennings Bryan.”
As former Georgia Tech baseball standout Geoff Duncan considers a bid for lieutenant governor or other statewide office, one of his potential adversaries wants it known where his college allegiances lay.
To which Duncan, a Republican lawmaker from Cumming, responded:
Add yet another name to the growing list of potential candidates seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Tom Price should he join Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
Attorney Charles Kuck, a devout Mormon and longtime Republican who is a nationally-known expert on immigration law, is also said to be considering a bid for the north Atlanta district.
He would join a list of contenders that includes – take a deep breath – state Sens. Brandon Beach and John Albers, state Rep. Chuck Martin, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, state Rep. Jan Jones and Price’s wife, state Rep. Betty Price.