Barack Obama Spoke out on Donald Trump's Campaign Promises

November 20th 2016

Tricia Tongco

During his last international news conference on Sunday, President Barack Obama opined on President-elect Donald Trump's ability to execute his campaign promises.

During the Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation event in Lima, Peru, the president suggested taking a "wait and see" approach regarding Trump's policy proposals, but Obama said he could guarantee one outcome once Trump enters The White House:

"You can’t assume that the language of campaigning matches up with the specifics of governing, legislation, regulations, and foreign policy...

Once you’re in the oval office, once you begin interacting with world leaders, once you see the complexities of the issues, that has a way of shaping your thinking and in some cases, modifying your thinking...

I can’t guarantee that the President-elect won’t pursue some of the positions he’s taken, but what I can guarantee is that reality will force him to adjust how he approaches many of these issues. That’s just the way this office works...

Even the best [presidents], you end up confronting realities you didn’t anticipate, and I think the same will happen here. That's a good thing. That’s an important thing."

Based on Obama's statements, he seems to believe that Trump will have to adjust some his policies, because reality won't allow them. Considering the international audience, it's likely Obama was referring to Trump’s promises to impose tougher tariffs and renegotiate trade deals. Trump's vision for trade currently lacks specific actions on how he will “negotiate fair trade deals that create American jobs, increase American wages, and reduce America’s trade deficit.”

In an article for The Washington Post, Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden and a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote: 

The TPP — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — appears to be over, as the White House sees no way forward for the deal. But since the deal had yet to be enacted, canceling it doesn’t change the status quo. Moreover, trade deals have much less to do with jobs than people think: Don’t conflate trade deals and trade. These deals have less to do with the extent of trade and more with the rules of the road that determine who wins and who loses from trade. With a few notable exceptions, I don’t see much in Trump’s trade agenda that deals with the rules of the road in a way that could make a difference to working people.

Watch the full video here.