President Obama shares his final written address to the citizens of the United States. There is just one brief mention of the potential dangers posed by a Trump administration.
With two weeks left in office, President Obama has written a final letter to the citizens of the United States. The letter serves as a retrospective of his eight years in office, outlining the challenges he faced when he was first elected and the extent to which the country has met them since. It carries a mostly positive tone, focusing on the strides made in many areas, such as the global financial crisis, healthcare, the war on terror, LGBT rights, and more.
The letter begins, "Eight years ago, America faced a moment of peril unlike any we’d seen in decades."
"I stood before you and swore a sacred oath," he writes of January 20, 2009. "I told you that day that the challenges we faced would not be met easily or in a short span of timeâ—âbut they would be met. And after eight busy years, we’ve met themâ—âbecause of you."
He sings the praises of the Affordable Care Act, noting that more Americans now have health insurance than ever before.
Since he took office, he remarks that "an economy that was shrinking at more than eight percent is now growing at more than three percent."
On education, he points out, "The high school graduation rate is now 83 percentâ—âthe highest on recordâ—âand we’ve helped more young people graduate from college than ever before."
"Add it all up, and last year, the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost fifty years while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record," he writes, contrasting the economic account of the U.S. that Trump has been conveying to his supporters. Obama never mentions Trump by name in his latter, though he does state that he believes he has helped put the country "in a situation I'm proud to leave for my successor."
There is only one paragraph in which he alludes to the Trump administration's plans to reverse many of his policies. He outlines some of the progress that has been made in mitigating inequality, before writing:
"What won’t help is taking health care away from 30 million Americans, most of them white and working class; denying overtime pay to workers, most of whom have more than earned it; or privatizing Medicare and Social Security and letting Wall Street regulate itself againâ—ânone of which middle-class Americans voted for."
Obama closes his letter by writing:
"It has been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. And as I prepare to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen, I’m proud to say that we have laid a new foundation for America. A new future is ours to write. And I’m as confident as ever that it will be led by the United States of Americaâ—âand that our best days are still ahead."
Read the full letter on Medium. Obama also asked all of his Cabinet members to each write his or her own "Exit Memo" about the progress made by their administration. Read all of them here.