President Barack Obama toured the site of the Acropolis of Athens, as part of his final international trip as president.
“I was determined, on my last trip, to come to Greece,” Obama said during his speech in the country. “Partly because I’ve heard about the legendary hospitality of the Greek people your philoxenia, partly because I had to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon.”
Obama tried to highlight the importance of democracy, even though his party lost badly in the 2016 election. But he noted that democracy was “imperfect,” despite all of the historical gains made based upon Western values, quoting Winston Churchill.
“Winston Churchill famously said that democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others,” he said. “And in a multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural society, like the United States, democracy can be especially complicated. Believe me, I know.”
Obama reminded the Greeks that democracy ensured that a president’s power was checked by the people.
“Citizens must be able to choose their own leaders, even if your candidate doesn’t always win,” Obama said, remarking that democracy also depended on a peaceful transition of power. “As you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different.”