President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he is proudest of his daughters for refraining from feeling cynical in the wake of the presidential election.
He said Malia and Sasha were disappointed by the outcome, but he praised them for not believing that “America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values.”
Obama made the remarks in response to the last question at his final White House press conference, when asked how he and the First Lady have spoken to Malia and Sasha about the meaning of the election. He attributed his daughters’ understanding of politics, in part, to the first family’s conversations over dinner during their eight years in the White House.
“I think they have—in part through osmosis, in part through dinner time conversations—appreciated the fact that this is a big complicated country and democracy is messy. It doesn’t always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn’t guarantee certain outcomes,” Obama said. “But if you—if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country, and there’s a core decency to this country and—that they’ve got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out against Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign and gave an impassioned speech after a leaked tape revealed Trump boasting about groping women without their consent.
“They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses,” President Obama said about his daughters on Wednesday. “But what we’ve also tried to teach them is resilience and we’ve tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. And so, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude.”
Read President Obama’s full comments about Malia and Sasha below:
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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com