Barack Obama took a parting shot at President Donald Trump after the inauguration. Speaking to staff and supporters at Joint Base Andrews just before he was to depart Washington, Obama talked about what he and his supporters had done during his presidency and said change would continue despite Trump’s election.
“This is just a little pit stop. This is not a period, this is a comma in the continuing story of building America,” said Obama.
He reminded the crowd that the change they helped make ” didn’t happen from the top-down but it happened from the bottom-up” and he expected that to continue despite who was at the top.
Video and full transcript
You know, Michelle and I have really been milking this goodbye thing, so it behooves me to be very brief.
Yes, yes. I said before, and I will say again, that when we started on this journey we did so with an abiding faith in the American people and their ability, our ability, to join together and change the country in ways that would make life better for our kids and our grandkids, that change didn’t happen from the top-down but it happened from the bottom-up.
It was meant sometimes with skepticism and doubt, some folks didn’t think we could pull it off. There were those who felt that the institutions of power and privilege in this country were too deeply entrenched.
And yet, all of you came together in small towns and big cities, a whole bunch of you really young, and you decided to believe. And you knocked on doors and you made phone calls, and you talked to your parents who didn’t know how to pronounce Barack Obama. And you got to know each other and you went into communities, that maybe you never thought about visiting, and met people that, on the surface seemed completely different than you, didn’t look like you, talk like you, or watch the same TV programs as you, and yet once you started talking it turned out you had something in common. It grew and it built. And people took notice. And throughout, it was infused with a sense of hope.
And as I said in 2004 it wasn’t blind optimism that drove you, to do all this work, it wasn’t naivety, it wasn’t willful ignorance to all the challenges that America faces. It was hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty. You proved the power of hope. And throughout this process, Michelle and I, we have just been your front men and women. We have been the face, sometimes the voice, out front on the TV screen, or in front of the microphone, but this has never been about us, it has always been about you. And all the amazing things that happened over these last ten years, are really just a testament to you.
In the same way we talk about our amazing military and our men and women in uniform, the military is not a thing. It’s a group of committed patriots willing to sacrifice everything on our behalf. It works only because of the people in it. As cool as the hardware is, and we got cool hardware, as cool as the machines and weapons and satellites are, ultimately it comes down to remarkable people. Some of them a lot closer to Malia’s age than mine or Michelle’s.
The same thing’s true for our democracy. Our democracy is not the buildings. It’s not the monuments. It’s you. Being willing to work to make things better and being willing to listen to each other, and argue with each other, and come together and knock on doors and make phone calls and treat people with respect.
And that doesn’t end, this is just a little pit stop. This is not a period, this is a comma in the continuing story of building America.
So to all of you that have put your heart and soul, not just into our campaigns, but into making schools better and making sure our veterans got the care their needed, making sure that we left behind a planet that is safe and secure for kids, making sure that hard working people had a ladder of opportunity and could support families. For all of you who have just done amazing, remarkable work, most of it without unheralded, most of it without fanfare, most of it without you getting any word of thanks.
We could not be prouder of you. I could not be prouder. This has been the privilege of my life, and I know I speak for Michelle as well. And we look forwarding to continuing this journey with all of you. And I can’t wait to see what you do next. I promise you, I’ll be right there with you.
God bless you. Thank you, everybody. Yes we did. Yes we can. God bless America.