With a final shout of his campaign mantra "Yes We Can," President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to stand up for U.S. values and reject discrimination as the country transitions to the presidency of Republican Donald Trump, Reuters reported.
In an emotional speech in which he thanked his family and declared his time as president the honor of his life, Obama gently prodded the public to embrace his vision of progress while repudiating some of the policies that Trump promoted during his campaign for the White House.
"So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are," Obama told a crowd of 18,000 in his hometown of Chicago, where he celebrated his historic 2008 election as the first black U.S. president.
Trump, who takes office on January 20, proposed that the United States temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, build a wall on the border with Mexico, upend a global deal to fight climate change and dismantle Obama's healthcare reform law.
Obama made clear his opposition to those positions during fiery campaign speeches for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but he has struck a more conciliatory tone with Trump since the election. In his farewell speech, he made clear his positions had not changed.
"I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans," he said in a clear reference to Trump, drawing applause.
"If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I will publicly support it," he said in another prodding challenge to his successor.
Trump has urged the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law right away.
Obama further that he would publicly support a better health care system if one was made that was "demonstrably better" than the one his administration created.
"And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system — that covers as many people at less cost — I will publicly support it," Obama said during his speech in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday. Obama also noted that the number of those uninsured in the United States is at its lowest and that health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years.