Obama: Separation of Powers Can Restrict a Bad President

Obama in Argentina AP

Even if Donald Trump becomes the president of the United States, there is a limit to how much he could do as president. That’s the subtle message that President Obama shared with young people in Argentina today during a town hall meeting.

During a discussion about American government, Obama admitted that the separation of powers was “frustrating” to deal with as president because it made it hard for the country to “change as rapidly as we need to.”

But he argued in favor of executive restraint, pointing out that it would be useful if someone he disagreed with replaced him.

“The advantage is, even if we end up with somebody who I might not consider a great president, there is a limit to some of the damage they can do,” he said.

Thanks to the democratic system of government, Obama argued, America had the ability to correct itself.

“We usually can recover from mistakes,” he said. “And typically we find leadership, and because this is a democracy, there are enough voices that lift up to correct those mistakes over time,” he said.

Obama added that Republicans likely felt discouraged by his own presidency and approved of the same checks on his executive power.

“They imagine that I would have turned the United States into Cuba, I suppose,” he said. “They tend to exaggerate how I see the world.”

But Obama appeared confident that the American people would pick a qualified successor.

“The good news is that ultimately I have great trust and great faith in the American people,” he said. I think ultimately they will make a good decision in terms of the next president and the next administration.”