Obama added that while the country faces big challenges, American values like freedom and equal opportunity inspire the world, including immigrants striving to reach U.S. shores.
The speech to the Air Force Academy’s class of 2016, which was more a tribute to the school’s 812 graduates and to the U.S. military, highlighted the threats facing national and global security, from terrorism to Russian aggression to the conflict in the South China Sea.
Obama’s remarks came just hours before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to deliver a foreign policy address in California in which aides said she would slam Trump’s foreign policy approach and lay out why she believes he is “unqualified” and “unfit” to serve as president.
Obama also argued that treaties — some of which Trump has questioned — help keep America safe, citing as an example the treaty that established NATO.
Obama opened his remarks hailing the airmen he has come to know as president and joking that some days he spends more time with those in the Air Force than with his own family.
“I’m really gonna miss Air Force One,” the President said, after noting the crew’s punctuality, the fact that he does not have to take off his shoes before he flies, and that his luggage never gets lost.
“We can never know what the future holds but in the not so distant future when I’m no longer president, I will sleep knowing men and women like you serve to keep us free.”