As President Barack Obama prepares to turn the White House over to President-elect Donald Trump, he’s offering some advice to his successor.
“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,” Obama told CBS News’ Steve Kroft in a taped interview for “60 Minutes.”
In a transition period that found the President-elect often commenting on presidential matters, Obama admitted it’s been an “unusual” time.
“I suspect the President-elect would agree with that,” Obama said. “Look, he’s an unconventional candidate.”
Obama noted that Trump “ran sort of an improvisational campaign” but cautioned him against running an “improvisational presidency,” saying it will be a test to see if Trump can build an organization and execute the vision he laid out during the campaign.
“I think everybody has to acknowledge, don’t underestimate the guy, because he, he’s going to be 45th president of the United States in about in about two weeks,” Obama said of his successor.
The outgoing President said partisanship that became even more evident during the 2016 campaign was something that surprised him during his time in office.
“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,” Obama said. “I did not expect, particularly in the midst of crisis, just how severe that partisanship would be.”
One thing Obama said he will miss about the job is living in the White House and working with his staff. But, he said living within the hallowed halls is not exactly like people typically imagine.
“You know, it’s not free,” Obama said of the presidential lifestyle. “I’ve got a grocery bill at the end of every month. Our toothpaste, our orange juice, that all gets paid. But it is true that I don’t carry my wallet that often. So I’m going to have some catching up to do in terms of how day-to-day things operate.”
Obama told Kroft that he is looking forward to his next life phase and the tasks he aims to accomplish, such as writing a book and working on a foundation.
The Obama family will stay in Washington and aren’t moving far from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to a rental home in the Kalorama neighborhood. They plan on staying at least until their youngest daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school.
But first, before settling into his new lifestyle, Obama says he’s going on a vacation.
“I’m not setting my alarm,” he said. “I’m going to spend time with Michelle. And — you know, we got some catching up to do. We’ve both been busy.”