In a final interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday (15 January), US President Barack Obama opened up about his two terms in office and his thoughts on the incoming president. Obama noted that Donald Trump is an "unconventional candidate" but said that he should not be underestimated.
"First of all, I think everybody has to acknowledge: Don't underestimate the guy, because he's going to be 45th president of the United States," Obama told 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft. The president said that Trump ran a campaign that was unlike anyone else's, which did not endear him to the GOP establishment but earned him many supporters.
"He has a talent for making a connection with his supporters that overrode some of the traditional benchmarks of how you'd like to run a campaign or conduct yourself as a presidential candidate," said Obama.
Yet when asked if Trump, could run an "improvisational presidency", Obama said he did not think so. "We'll have to see how that works," he said. "And it'll be a test, I think, for him and the people that he's designated to be able to execute on his vision." He noted that he has advised Trump to preserve certain institutional traditions "because there's a reason they're in place".
Obama suggested Trump's decision to pick a fight with the intelligence community was not wise. "You're not going to be able to make good decisions without building some relationship of trust between yourself and that community," he said.
The president also discussed his time in office and his administration's greatest achievements, from improving the economy to enacting the Affordable Care Act. However, he acknowledged the roll-out of the healthcare.gov website was one of the major mistakes during his administration.
Obama defended several moments of his presidency, including the recent decision to abstain from voting on the UN Security Council resolution against Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
"If you're saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu got fired up, he's been fired up repeatedly during the course of my presidency," Obama said. "And despite all the noise and hullabaloo – military cooperation, intelligence cooperation, all of that has continued. We have defended them consistently in every imaginable way."
With the end of his term just four days away, Obama has several plans lined up, including going on holiday, writing a book, working on his library and setting up a foundation.
"Well, look, I'm going to try to get some sleep. And do a little puttering," he said. "Because I haven't had a lot of chance to reflect and absorb all this. I do not expect to be behind a desk a lot. I look forward to teaching the occasional class, because I was a professor. And I had fun doing it."