Barack Obama said in an interview for the BBC Radio 4 that when he handed over the reins of the White House to President Donald Trump, he felt serene, even though there was work yet to be completed.
“I think it was a satisfying feeling. That was mixed with all the work that was still undone. Concerns about how the country moves forward but, you know, overall there was serenity there. More than I would have expected,” Obama said.
Still, he believed his administration had “run a good race” during its eight years in office.
“One of the metaphors that I always used for the presidency is that you are a relay runner. There is the sense sometimes in any position of leadership that you, by yourself, do certain things and then it’s over and I always viewed it as taking the baton from a whole range of people who had come before me. Some of whom had been heroic and some of whom had screwed up,” Obama explained.
“But wherever you were in the race: if you ran hard, if you did your best, and that you then were able to pass that baton off successfully and the country was better off, the world was a little bit better off, then when you got there, then you could take some pride in that. And I think we were able to do that.”
So when Jan. 20, 2017, rolled around, Obama felt a feeling of satisfaction, and that the work that he, first lady Michelle Obama and the administration had done had “preserved out integrity and left us whole.”
Looking back, however, there are definitely elements that Obama misses from his time as president, in particular his team.
“Everything you do, every day you know can affect millions or billions of people in some cases. And to have really smart focused people who are there for the right reasons and who, over time, have built up trust and have learned to support each other and rely on each other — I miss that,” said Obama, adding that the work itself was “fascinating.”