President Barack Obama is heading into his last months as President after eight years in office. His historic presidency has changed the way the world views America, politics, Black men and families and during his tenure, he’s been able to revitalize a sagging economy, correct mandatory sentencing abuses with a record number of prison sentence commutations, as well as provide universal health insurance, among other stellar accomplishments. No matter how history ultimately views his legacy, one of the initiatives closest to his heart is “My Brother’s Keeper,” a program aimed at improving the outcomes for young men of color.
To date, the initiative has raised millions through the support of major corporations. On his way out of the White House, the President has an important mission – to help get out the vote next week so that the positive momentum of the last eight years won’t be in vain. He’s been open about his disdain for Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, along with his support for another historic nominee – Hillary Clinton – who he famously beat out for the Democratic nomination eight years ago.
Here are some excerpts from his interview with the TJMS crew. You can hear the entire interview above.
On why he can’t go on the Fantastic Voyage cruise:
I was just telling somebody about the Tom Joyner cruises. I can’t go on those as President, but who knows when I’m done. (Laughs) You know what? All I’d be doing is just be taking selfies the whole time.
On where his Presidential Library will be:
The library’s going to be there [in Chicago] right in Jackson Park. That’s already decided. The site’s already selected.
On why he’s staying in Washington, D.C. after his term ends:
We can’t move back to Chicago until after Sasha finishes school. All the sacrifices Malia and Sasha made for me, I want them to have stability before they graduate, so that’s going to be about two-and-a-half years.
On the violence in Chicago:
The key is making sure we have a collective effort. There’s not going to be a single silver bullet. Some of it is that the gangs in Chicago are so splintered up now that there’s no authority. And every kid on the corner has a gun. Some of it has to do with the fact a lot of kids still don’t have anything to do other than hanging out and being involved in the drug trade.
We’ve seen programs that work. We’ve just got to double down and apply it. And we need more police. When you look at New York City, they’ve got a lot more police per person than they do in Chicago. And not just having a presence out there, but a positive presence, engaged with the community, not just sitting in a squad car and coming in after the fact.
On getting out the vote:
If you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, you are going to go and vote. And if you don’t know where to vote, go to www.iwillvote.com .If you’ve already voted, but your mama hasn’t voted, your cousin hasn’t voted, your nephew hasn’t voted, I need you to call them and say that the President and Michelle personally asked you to vote. It’s not that hard. And I know it’s not that hard because we’ve done it before.
But if we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is, to have him, in the first couple of weeks, sit in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done – all the work we’ve done to make sure people get overtime, all the work we’ve done to make sure women get paid the same as men for doing the same job, all the work we’ve done so that 20 million people get healthcare, all the work we’ve done to make sure we’re doing something about climate change, so that we don’t have a situation where the whole world is not scrambling to figure out where they’re going to live and where they get enough water and crops failing and bigger hurricanes – if I’ve got to look at that the last two months, because folks stayed home, even going on the Tom Joyner cruise won’t help me then. If I’m on the cruise, I might jump off.
(Photo Source: WhiteHouse.gov)