White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tells reporters that when President Barack Obama won the presidency, he won the popular vote and the electoral college in both 2012 and 2008.
Earnest made his comments during the White House press briefing in response to questions about the President Obama’s assertion that he could have beaten Donald Trump if he had run for a third term.
He noted the Obama was elected and re-elected with “with strong majorities — not just of the electoral college, but actually a majority of the voting population.”
Despite their political differences, Earnest said that Obama was committed to a smooth transition of power.
“Now, the President-elect didn’t get more votes, but he did win the election,” he said. “And since day one, this administration has been focused on ensuring a smooth and effective transition.”
He added that Obama was the only president since Dwight Eisenhower to win over 51 percent of the popular vote in both his first election and re-election, suggesting he was a better candidate than most modern presidents in history.
Earnest acknowledged, however, that Obama failed to deliver victories for some of the other Democrats he campaigned for, including Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.
“I think there are a lot of theories as to why that is, but that’s undeniably true,” he said.
When reporters asked if Obama wanted to debate Trump, Earnest replied, “No.”