Former President Barack Obama conducted his first interview since leaving the White House with Prince Harry for a BBC Radio program.
The interview was reportedly recorded in September, but its contents were just recently published.
Per the Daily Caller:
Obama talked about the importance of remaining optimistic about the world, his life after the White House, and how leaders need to be careful of what they say online.
The interview was recorded in September in Toronto, Canada, around the time Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama attended the Invictus games, a sporting tournament for injured veterans and service members.
Obama answered questions about his new post-presidency life and issues which he is still passionate like the “armed forces, mental health, youth crime and climate change,” BBC reports.
He also commented that modern times exemplify a “healthier, wealthier, better educated and more tolerant, more sophisticated and less violent [world]”:
“If we take responsibility for being involved in our own fate, if we participate, if we engage, if we speak out, if we work in our communities, if we volunteer, then all the problems that we face are solvable despite all the terrible news that you see.
“If you had to choose a moment in human history in which you’d want to be born you’d choose today because the fact is that the world is healthier, wealthier, better educated and more tolerant, more sophisticated and less violent.”
White House Correspondent for Breitbart News Charlie Spiering reports some people are criticizing a specific comment from the interview:
Obama when asked what he misses about being president:
“The fact that I didn’t used to experience traffic, I used to cause traffic”
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 27, 2017
This is how some people responded:
So basically the fact that he was able to inconvenience those lesser folks just trying to get to and from work, home, etc.
— Sue (@pearls42) December 27, 2017
Pretty much says it all. The elitist enjoyed inconveniencing the commoners.
— Brad Schultheis (@bratl3y) December 27, 2017
"The fact that I didn't used to experience oppression, I used to cause oppression"
— Downtown Indy (@SSJIndy) December 27, 2017
This is what he misses?
— Lulu Lapin (@Lulu_Lapin) December 27, 2017
Because it's always about him, even when it's not.
— Husky Unit (@husky_unit) December 27, 2017
Obama says what he misses about being President: "The fact that I didn’t used to experience traffic, I used to cause traffic.” What an absolute jerk. He misses inconveniecing others, rather than working with brilliant, dedicated people to help the country. Not missing you, BO.
— Beto Bower (@bowerh) December 27, 2017
— Julie davis (@julescrna316) December 27, 2017
Here’s more from the interview –
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 27, 2017
ABC News reports the two discussed the use of social media, though cautiously avoided naming President Donald Trump:
The former president also said people in a position of power should exercise care when posting messages and said he is concerned that social media is “corroding civil discourse.”
“All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the Internet,” Obama said. “One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”
"There was serenity there, more than I would have expected," former Pres. Obama tells Prince Harry of attending Pres. Trump's Inauguration. "There was a sense that we had run a good race." https://t.co/6UzYFr0VoN pic.twitter.com/uJjzJNdR0f
— ABC News (@ABC) December 27, 2017
CBS News adds:
“The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground,” he continued.
“Social media is a really powerful tool for people of common interests to convene and get to know each other and connect, but then it’s important for them to get offline, meet in a pub, meet at a place of worship, meet in a neighborhood and get to know each other, because the truth is that on the internet, everything is simplified, and when you meet people face-to-face, it turns out they’re complicated,” Mr. Obama said.
"It's also, by the way, harder to be as obnoxious and cruel in person as people can be anonymously on the internet," President Obama talks to Prince Harry about social media during an interview for BBC radio — his first interview since leaving office. https://t.co/65qTjnZ60I pic.twitter.com/MP0jmblBsZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 27, 2017
The two discussed issues Obama focused on during his time in the White House, again from ABC News:
Harry focused his show on themes that were central to his charitable work: Empowering youth, providing resources, education and training for service members who have departed the military, and mental health awareness.
“The things that are important to me haven’t changed,” Obama told Harry. “I still care about making the United States and the world a place where kids get an education, where people who are willing to work hard are able to find a job that pays a living wage, that we are conserving the amazing resources of our planet so that future generations can enjoy the beauty of this place like we did.”
After the interview, Prince Harry concluded (per BBC):
“I haven’t done that many interviews but it was quite fun, especially interviewing President Obama despite the fact he wanted to interview me.
“It’s been a big learning curve but also these are incredibly important topics we all need to think about and need to be discussed.”