With apologies to Drudge and WikiLeaks, I am releasing the following transcript of President Obama’s farewell press conference, held on June 6, 2016, the day after the U.S. Senate voted 65-35 to convict him of five of the seven Articles of Impeachment adopted in the House on April 1, 2016. The transcript was obtained from a high-level source in the White House basement.
President Obama: Good morning. You all have copies of my letter of resignation from the office of president of the United States, effective noon tomorrow. Are there any questions?
Politico: Mr. President, until today you have refused to even comment on the congressional impeachment hearings, so your resignation comes as a huge shock to the nation. Is it true that yesterday afternoon you met with a delegation of five House and Senate Democratic leaders, who urged you to resign in order to “halt the hemorrhaging” and minimize Democratic losses in November?
The President: I meet with congressional leaders quite often, and always welcome their advice and counsel.
Associated Press: Mr. President, why are you resigning? The Senate vote to remove you from office was only 65-35, two votes short of the two-thirds needed according to the Constitution.
The President: Yes, that is true, but while the Constitution offers guidance in these matters, I have decided to follow my conscience, not the Constitution. True, I could stay and continue to fight this gang of politically motivated obstructionists, but I prefer to continue my fight for global social justice in a new venue. The achievements of my administration over the past seven years will stand regardless of what happens in November.
ABC News: Mr. President, doesn’t this set a very bad precedent, resigning when the Constitution protects you from “light and transient majorities” and wisely requires a two-thirds vote to remove a president from office?
The President: As I said before, the Constitution does offer guidance, but there are other considerations as well. The job of secretary general of the United Nations will be open soon, and several million Chinese, Norwegians and Moldovans have petitioned me to seek that post.
N.Y. Times: But Mr. President, the Constitution’s separation of powers gives you a veto and other executive powers to fight the reactionary forces in Congress. Shouldn’t you fill out your term of office and not surrender to these dark forces?
The President: You know, the separation of powers is greatly over-rated. In fact, I found it to be one of the major impediments to social progress. Fortunately, most members of Congress don’t take it seriously most of the time either. Next question?
Rolling Stone: Mr. President, when did you inform Vice President Biden of your decision? Yesterday’s White House calendar shows him in Outer Mongolia dedicating a new Wal-Mart outlet. Is he ready to assume the office tomorrow?
The President: The vice president and I talked late last night, and he is on his way home. Joe Biden will make a superb president until Hillary arrives in January. He is stopping at Guantanamo to say a fond farewell to the last group of 25 prisoners being released tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. and flown to Kabul.
Washington Post: Mr. President, isn’t that vice presidential visit to Guantanamo just rubbing salt in the wounds of the families of those American soldiers killed by the Taliban terrorists you released back in 2014?
The President: I want to make one thing absolutely clear. Closing Guantanamo has been the top priority of this administration from day one, and what happens to those alleged terrorists after they are released or what actions they undertake are not our responsibility. The important thing is that we have kept our promises … the important ones … and President Biden will begin his term of office tomorrow without that hideous moral burden on his shoulders.
Wall Street Journal: Mr. President, which “hideous moral burden” are you referring to – the burden of keeping terrorist at the Guantanamo detention camp or the moral burden of the terrorist acts committed by those you released from Guantanamo?
The President: We are not responsible for the acts of others. We follow our own moral compass.
CNN: Mr. President, the illegal release of prisoners from Guantanamo was one of the articles of impeachment, along with Fast and Furious, the IRS abuse of power, refusing to deport convicted criminal aliens and the general refusal to enforce laws you don’t like. According to polls, the release of terrorists while their terrorist organizations continue to kill Americans is rejected by 85 percent of the American people and even 49 percent of the residents of Berkeley, Beverly Hills and Cambridge. Don’t you feel an obligation to the American people to respect their judgment that those were illegal and improper actions?
The President: As I said before, we will follow our own moral compass, and on such matters, we will let history be our judge.
Now, in closing, I will grant my favorite current-affairs magazine, Mother Jones, the privilege of asking the last question.
Mother Jones: Mr. President, progressives feel betrayed! How do you explain why 92 House Democrats – almost half of the 195 Democrats in the House – and 13 of 48 Senate Democrats – all 13 of whom are facing re-election in November – voted against you on the impeachment charges? Those 105 self-proclaimed “progressives” deserted you. Don’t you think they are moral cowards?
The President: I think it is obvious that those Democrats who voted for impeachment voted not on the merits of the charges – after all, they don’t take the Constitution or the separation of powers any more seriously than I do – they voted out of fear of losing their jobs in November. Politics won out over progressive principles: The raw politics of self-preservation – that’s all it was. Now, if I had declared a national emergency and canceled the November election, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. That’s what Eric Holder, Valerie Jarret and Fidel Castro urged me to do. But, hey, I’m tired of Small Ball. Michelle and I are moving forward.
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