President Obama Reveals His Advice to Trump in Final Press Conference

Obama addressed reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room.

January 18, 2017, 8:05 AM

— -- In his final White House press conference, President Obama said he has emphasized to President-elect Trump the importance of surrounding himself with a strong team of advisers.

"This is a job of such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself," Obama said. "You are enormously reliant on a team — your Cabinet, your senior White House staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s but executing on significant responsibilities. And so how you put a team together to make sure that they are getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options is probably the most useful constructive advice I've been able to give him."

While he has offered his advice and counsel, Obama said it's fitting that Trump will pursue a different agenda from his own.

"It is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values, and I don't expect that there's going to be, you know, enormous overlap," Obama said. "It may be that on certain issues, once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to, in fact, provide health care for everybody, something he says he wants to do, or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country, that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that I arrived at once I got here. But I don't think we'll know until he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk."

Obama would not elaborate on his conversations with Trump but said their talks have been "cordial" and "substantive."

Obama applauded the work of the White House press corps in holding him accountable and encouraged the press to continue in that role.

"You're not supposed to be sycophants. You’re supposed to be skeptics," he told reporters in the briefing room.

"My hope is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself," Obama said. "I have no doubt that you will do so. I'm looking forward to being an active consumer of your work rather than always the subject of it. I want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy."

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