Donald Trump isn’t the president yet, the incumbent president expressed on Monday, telling the press ahead of a foreign trip “there is one president at a time.”
President Barack Obama kicked off a news conference Monday by hailing his team’s transition efforts and suggested his staff is ready to kick it into high gear.
“As I discussed with the president-elect on Thursday, my team stands ready to accelerate in the next steps that are required to ensure a smooth transition, and we are gonna be staying in touch as we travel,” Obama said in his opening remarks before taking questions in the White House Briefing Room before departing for a foreign trip to Greece, Germany and Peru.
“I remember what it was like when I came in eight years ago. It is a big challenge,” he continued, before taking what could be perceived as a dig at his successor. “This office is bigger than any one person, and that’s why ensuring a smooth transition is so important. It’s not something that the Constitution explicitly requires, but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis. It’s part of what makes this country work, and as long as I’m president we are going to uphold those norms and cherish and uphold those ideals.”
Obama said his team should be “very proud” that because of the groundwork it’s laid, when he hands over the keys, “the car’s in pretty good shape.” He ticked through his administration’s successes, including job growth, rising incomes and historic uninsured rates, among others and said he has told his team to finish strong.
“So my instructions to my team are that we run through the tape. We make sure that we finish what we started, that we don’t let up in these last couple of months because my goal is on Jan. 21, America’s in the strongest position possible and hopefully there’s an opportunity for the next president to build on that,” he said. “No. 2, our work has also helped to stabilize the global economy, and because there is one president at a time, I’ll spend this week reinforcing America’s support of the approaches that we’ve taken to promote economic growth and global security on a range of issues.”