U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America on Jan, 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Shen Ting)
BEIJING/CHICAGO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- In an emotional farewell speech on Tuesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama defended his political legacies and repudiated some policies of President-elect Donald Trump.
In the hour-long speech in his hometown of Chicago, Obama mentioned the health care overhaul, the Paris agreement on climate change, financial stability after the 2008 crisis and the nuclear deal with Iran as his key legacies over the past eight years.
During his tenure, the Obama administration succeeded in the expansion of health care, the normalization of relations with Cuba, economic recovery and job growth and the achievement of marriage equality among others.
However, his successor, who takes office on Jan. 20, holds different, even opposite, political views on many of Obama's policies. Trump has proposed banning Muslims from entering the country, building a wall on the border with Mexico, upending a global deal to fight climate change and dismantling Obama's health care reform.
In the speech, Obama said: "Anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we've made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I will publicly support it."
These remarks apparently targeted Trump, who has urged Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law.
Obama said he rejects discrimination against Muslim Americans, saying: "If we're going to be serious about race going forward, we need to uphold laws against discrimination -- in hiring, and in housing, and in education, and in the criminal justice system."
On climate change, he said "to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders."
The Paris Agreement is considered a major legacy of Obama's. However, Trump, calling climate change a "hoax," has threatened to withdraw from the global deal that took effect last year.
Actually, in an article published Monday in the Science journal, Obama warned Trump against walking away from the global climate deal, saying that trends toward clean energy are irreversible and will help drive economic growth.
In his farewell speech, he asked his supporters to be politically involved. "If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself."
Just one day before the farewell speech, Obama advised Trump to avoid running the White House like his business empire. "You're (Trump) now in charge of the largest organization on earth ... You can't manage it the way you would manage a family business," he told the ABC.
Before leaving office, Obama has beefed up efforts to try to contain Trump's move with accelerating the release of Guantanamo prisoners, imposing sanctions on Russia and calling Democrats to fight for health care law.