President Barack Obama promised that the transition from his presidency to Donald Trump’s will be a peaceful one, when he spoke publicly from the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” he said, vice president Joe Biden standing by his side. “This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first—we’re Americans first, we’re patriots first.” He emphasized: ”We are all on the same team.”
Uncharacteristically, Obama stumbled in his speech, trying to find words about what happened on Nov. 8. “Sometimes you lose an argument, sometimes you lose an election,” he said. “But the path this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag.”
Obama said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Hillary Clinton.
“She has lived an extraordinary life of public service,” Obama said about his former secretary of state. “Her candidacy and nomination was historic,” he said. “That’s the nature of democracy. It’s hard and sometimes contentious and not always inspiring.”
The president asked Americans to have good faith in their fellow citizens. He said he was ready to pass on the baton in the “relay race” of the presidency.
“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step,” Obama said. “I have instructed my team to follow the example that president Bush’s team set eight years ago.”
Here are his full remarks: