Rumors were swirling throughout the 2016 presidential election that Donald Trump was planning a massive media initiative, possibly titled "Trump TV." But now that the reality TV star and real estate billionaire has been elected the next president of the United States, it appears President Barack Obama could actually be the one preparing to be a vocal political force outside of the Oval Office during the next White House administration.
Obama, a key stumper for former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, said Monday he’s confident in the vision for America he's put forth in the last eight years, going so far as to say he’d have beaten Trump in the general election if he could have run for a third term. The president went on to suggest he’s planning to remain active in the political limelight during a Trump presidency, especially if Trump raises "foundational issues about our democracy."
"You know, I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I – if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it," Obama said Monday in an interview with David Axelrod, his former senior adviser and a political analyst for CNN. "I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say, 'The vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.'"
How exactly Obama plans to continue delivering that message to the American people, however, remains to be seen.
In one of his final interviews as a sitting president, Obama discussed the united coalition between former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which "mobilized a backlash" to the Democratic agenda his administration pushed and Clinton supported.
Obama could eventually seek to build that same front for Democrats hoping to take the White House after a Trump presidency, as well as a number of seats lost in the House and Senate during the 2016 election. It's been reported the president could be planning a digital media career, meeting with Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, though the White House has denied those reports. For now, however, the president said he must be strategic about when he plans to start speaking out against President-elect Trump.
"I have to be quiet for a while. And I don't mean politically, I mean internally,” Obama told Axelrod. "At a certain point, you make room for new voices and fresh legs… That doesn't mean that if a year from now, or a year-and-a-half from now, or two years from now, there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn't just a debate about a particular tax bill or, you know, a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy, that I might not weigh in."
"You know, I'm still a citizen and that carries with it duties and obligations," Obama added.