- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2016

Former talk show host Jon Stewart said he remains optimistic about the future of America under President-elect Donald Trump, pointing out that the country was able to survive President Obama despite his flaws.

“Obama has been in office for eight years and I don’t know about you, but it seems like there’s still [expletive] to do,” the former “Daily Show” host said during a recent TimesTalks conversation with New York Times chief TV critic James Poniewozik, according to a partial transcript provided by The Huffington Post.

Mr. Stewart, a liberal, said that even though he aligned with Mr. Obama politically, there were plenty of things the president’s administration did that he didn’t agree with.

“I thought they were terrible for press freedom. I still am not quite sure I understand a centralized policy of spying and droning,” he said.

“There will be real victims of the policies over the next four years, but there were real victims, like Barack Obama’s administration deported more people than any in history,” he continued. “That was real and whether we took comfort in the fact that he was one of the good guys that did that, real people paid a price for that. And you have to care about that, even if it’s one of your guys that did that.”

Mr. Stewart assured listeners that the United States is the same country it was before Mr. Trump.

“Obama didn’t change and fix everything and Trump can’t ruin everything,” he argued. “If we’re that vulnerable to one guy, that guy — that’s how we’re going out? This incredible experiment in liberty and democracy that we fought and died for is going to go out ― with that guy.

“That can’t be how this story ends,” he said. “I’m optimistic because, I cant believe how much better this country is than it was when it started. It’s always up and back.

Mr. Stewart echoed criticism he made recently to CBS’ Charlie Rose about demonizing Mr. Trump’s supporters and painting them all as racists.

“This has to stop. This idea that we’re all … that our team is perfect and the other team is demons,” he said. “And this is not like a Kumbaya, let’s all get along. Let’s [expletive] fight, but let’s fight with precision and integrity, and not with just demonization.

“And I’ll say this, I know a lot of first responders. I spent a lot of time in that community. A [expletive] of them voted for Trump,” he continued. “The same people that voted for Trump ran into burning buildings and saved whoever the [expletive] they could no matter what color they were, no matter what religion and they would do it again tomorrow. So, if you want to sit and tell me that those people are giving tacit approval to an exploitative system ― I say, ‘OK, and would you put your life on the line for people who aren’t like you? Because they did.’ I get mad about this stuff.”

Still, Mr. Stewart said it’s important for Americans to hold Mr. Trump accountable and be a voice for any groups who feel marginalized by his policies.

“There will be real ramification to this election. [Find] who are the vulnerable people, where are the vulnerable societies. And not in tweets, in practice. In reality,” he said, according to the transcript. “If [Trump] tries to deport dreamers, then that’s where everyone has to go, to protect them. If he tries to make a Muslim Registry, then everyone has to go there and help them. You have to find the people that are going be most in jeopardy, I think, and put your attentions on them because now it’s about reality.”

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