Batons and scrimmages: Barack Obama's philosophical response to Donald Trump's victory

 
Oliver Gill
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Obama urged to focus on being Americans rather than Democrats or Republicans (Source: Getty)

Outgoing US President Barack Obama said he was looking forward to passing on the baton to Donald Trump because, despite significant differences, “we are all on the same team”.

Speaking outside of the White House this afternoon, Obama compared the Presidential election, which concluded with a loss for Hillary Clinton, to an “inter-mural scrimmage”.

We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We are patriots first.

It is no secret that the President-Elect and I have some pretty significant differences.

Read more: Clinton breaks her silence: Trump is "owed a chance to lead"

Fellow Democrat Clinton was the overwhelming favourite to take the White House as Americans went to the polls on Tuesday. Obama referenced the fact that whatever happened, “the sun would come in the morning”. Unfortunately for him, though, “that is one bit of prognosticating that came true”.

Obama said he was buoyed by his initial conversation with Trump earlier in the day.

We all what is best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr Trump’s comments last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly and I was heartened by that.

Nevertheless, echoing some of the rhetoric used by Hillary Clinton in her public address in New York only minutes earlier, Obama stressed the need for an inclusive society.

Read more: Theresa May just congratulated Donald Trump on winning the US election

“That’s what the country needs. A sense of unity. A sense of inclusion. A respect for our institutions. Our way of life. The rule of law. And a respect for one another. I hope that he maintains that spirit though this transition. And I certainly hope that is how is presidency will begin,” he said.

The President acknowledged the “contentious and noisey” campaigning between Clinton and Trump. But, he said: “That’s the nature of democracy. It’s hard... It’s not always inspiring.”

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