In an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, Obama pointed to the country’s “long tradition of inclusion” as well as its historical suspicion of “outsiders”.
“Although you’ll see bumps, whether it’s anti-immigrant sentiment directed at the Irish, or Southern Europeans as opposed to Northern Europeans, or the Chinese, or today, Latinos or Muslims, the long-term trend is people get absorbed, people get assimilated, and we benefit from this incredible country in which the measure of your patriotism and how American you are is not the colour of your skin, your last name, your faith, but rather your adherence to a creed, your belief in certain principles and values,” Obama said.
He added: “I don’t expect that that’s going to change simply because Trump has gotten a little more attention than usual.”
Trump, Obama said, has “been able to appeal to a certain group of folks who feel left out or are worried about the rapidity of demographic change, social change, who, in some cases, have very legitimate concerns around the economy and are feeling left behind”.
But the President maintained that these people do not make up “the majority of America”.
“If you talk to younger people, the next generation of Americans, they completely reject the kinds of positions that he’s taking,” he insisted.