While President-elect Donald Trump celebrated Dec. 31 as the final day of the final full year of President Obama’s tenure, the president used his address on New Year’s Eve to claim the U.S. has become “stronger” and “more respected” under his watch.
During his final weekly address of 2016, Obama reflected on all of the actions he and his supporters have taken “to make America stronger these past eight years.” With the havoc the upcoming Trump administration will wreak upon Obama’s legacy looming directly overhead, the president sought to comfort himself and his supporters with all the self-important optimism he could muster.
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
“At a time when we turn the page on one year and look ahead to the future, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for everything you’ve done to make America stronger these past eight years,” Obama said. “Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.”
But in his fond remembrances, Obama overlooked the message sent by Trump’s Election Day victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: the American people did not want another four or eight years of Obama’s failed policies.
If Clinton had won the White House on Nov. 8, Obama could have rest assured that his legacy would continue unhindered.
“Twenty million more Americans know the financial security of health insurance,” Obama said as he recounted his accomplishments.
But it didn’t seem to matter to the president that the Affordable Care Act has caused premiums to soar a far-less affordable average of 22 percent higher throughout the country and those numbers of nearly insured do not account for the millions of Americans who lost their private health plans and were forced onto the exchanges.
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“Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our kids,” Obama added.
Not all of the country, however, looked kindly on Obama’s willingness to act as an apologist of sorts for former Cuban President Fidel Castro’s repressive and dictatorial leadership. In thawing the United States’ foreign relations with Cuba, Obama and the Democrats largely ignored Cuba’s human rights violations or glossed over them.
And as for Obama’s “climate agreement,” Americans used their ballots to declare that more pressing concerns occupied their thoughts.
“Poverty is falling. Incomes are rising,” Obama said. “We’ve turned recession into recovery. Our businesses have created 15.6 million new jobs since early 2010 — and we’ve put more people back to work than all other major advanced economies combined.”
But Trump ran his campaign on a business-friendly platform that favored instituting tax reforms, renegotiating disastrous trade deals that harmed American workers and creating jobs.
“We’re living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world,” Trump had said during his victory tour in early December.
None of these realities seemed to matter to Obama when he patted himself and his administration on the back for a job well done during his New Year’s Eve address. Living in a state of denial appears to be the only way in which Obama can face the New Year under an upcoming Trump Administration.
Nevertheless, America is ready for change, as Trump’s Election Day victory provides ample proof.
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” Trump tweeted on New Year’s Eve.
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