Barack Obama appeared on 60 Minutes for the 12th and final time as president on Sunday night. In a wide-ranging interview with Steve Kroft, Obama reflected on his political career, discussed the transition between himself and Donald Trump, and speculated about what lies ahead for his successor.
“It’s unusual,” Obama said when asked about the transitionary period since the Nov. 8 election. “I suspect the president-elect would agree with that. … I don’t think there’s anybody who’s run a campaign like his successfully in modern history, not that I can think of.” When Obama described Trump’s campaign as “improvisational,” Kroft asked if Trump could take a similarly improvisational approach in the Oval Office. “I don’t think so,” Obama concluded.
Obama also discussed Trump’s unconventional political style. “I think everybody has to acknowledge, don’t underestimate the guy because he’s going to be 45th president of the United States,” he said. “The one thing I’ve said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that, as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions don’t get eroded, because there’s a reason they’re in place.”
Elsewhere, Obama reflected on his own shortcomings as president. “I was surprised and continue to be surprised by the severity of partisanship in this town,” he said. “I will confess that I didn’t fully appreciate the ways in which individual senators or members of Congress now are pushed to the extremes by their voter bases.” But echoing a sentiment from his Farewell Address last week, Obama commented that “the American people can change Washington.”
On a lighter note, Obama surveyed parts of the White House and shared comments about moving out of his home of the last eight years. “I got books, I got clothes, I got mementos — these that, you know, I cherish,” he told Kroft. “We got some furniture that we purchased that, you know, we’ll try to use in the new place.” Obama noted that he’d seen the “new place,” which is temporary, and that “it’s not crazy big, but there’s enough room for, you know, a treadmill and some workout equipment in the basement.”
Check out Obama’s full 60 Minutes interview here.