Barack Obama has said it is not his intention to become his successor’s constant critic – but promised to speak out if Donald Trump or his policies breach certain "values or ideals".
Speaking at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru, Mr Obama said even the best presidents end up confronting realities they didn’t anticipate, and believes the same will happen with the next administration.
The President suggested that once he is out of office he would uphold the tradition of ex-presidents stepping aside quietly to allow their successors space to govern.
He praised former president George W Bush, saying he could not have been more gracious to me when I came in, and said he wanted to give Mr Trump the same chance to pursue his agenda without somebody popping off at every turn.
But Mr Obama suggested there may be limits to his silence.
As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes, he said.
Mr Obama spoke out throughout the election campaign against Mr Trump’s calls for banning Muslim immigrants, deporting millions of people living in the US illegally, repealing ‘Obamacare’ and cancelling the Paris climate deal.
His remarks came as he concluded his final world tour as president and what was expected to be his last face-to-face meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Putin said he and Mr Obama had noted that while their working relationship over the years had been difficult, they’d always respected each other’s positions – and each other.
I thanked him for the years of joint work, and said that at any time, if he considers it possible and will have the need and desire, we will be happy to see him in Russia, Mr Putin said.
(c) Sky News 2016: Obama vows to defend ‘US values’ if breached