President Barack Obama has been busy during his last year in office. He is working to get his policies in place and preparing to hand over power to president-elect Donald Trump, who will take office in January. Obama spent 2016 focusing on several key issues, including the U.S. economy, the environment, foreign relations, and challenging divisions within the country. He also campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. When Clinton lost the November election to Trump, Obama turned his attention to ensuring a peaceful transition of power. He has vowed to help Trump and said that as Americans, we are “all rooting for his success.”
Obama will likely leave office with his highest approval rating since he was re-elected, in 2012. About 56% of people polled approve of the job Obama is doing as president, according to Gallup, a polling company.
Throughout his presidency, Obama has worked to improve the nation’s economy. He was elected during an economic recession in 2008. Many people were out of work, companies were failing, and Americans were struggling. Today, the unemployment rate is 4.9%. The value of stock on the stock market has tripled. Although many economic challenges remain, by many measures, the U.S. economy has bounced back from the recession.
In 2016, Obama also made progress on U.S. relationships with other nations. In January, after a long negotiation, Iran agreed to a deal that would keep it from producing dangerous nuclear weapons. In March, Obama became the first U.S. president since 1928 to visit Cuba. Located just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba has for many years been at odds with the U.S. The trip was a sign that the relationship is improving.
Obama has also taken important steps this year to help the environment. In April, the U.S. was among the 174 nations to sign the Paris Agreement. The agreement lays out a plan for countries around the globe to work together against climate change.
One of the defining features of Obama’s year was his vigorous support for Clinton. Still, when Trump won, Obama congratulated him and welcomed him and his wife, Melania, as guests at the White House. Obama and Trump met for 90 minutes. “I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds,” Obama told Trump.
For his leadership as the nation’s 44th president in a time of deep political divisions and his commitment to peace and prosperity in the U.S., Barack Obama is a nominee for TFK’s 2016 Person of the Year.
Click here to return to the profiles and to vote!