Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY – (NBC) - President Obama, on the eve of his final State of the Union address, rejected the message Donald Trump has capitalized on in his presidential campaign.
"The message that Donald Trump's putting out has had adherence a lot of times during the course of our history. You know, talk to me if he wins. Then we'll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it," he told TODAY's Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview less than a week after making an emotional speech on gun control efforts.
"But I'm pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn't try to divide, that isn't looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating but looks for us buckling down and figuring out, 'How do we make things work for the next generation.'"
Obama also expressed disappointment that he enters the final year of his term in a deeply divided country, politically.
"It's a regret," he said, and one he plans to address that in his final State of the Union. Yet, "I could not be prouder of what we've accomplished," he insisted. "And sometimes we look at the past through rose-colored glasses. It's been pretty divided in the past. There've been times where, you know, people beat each other with canes."
TODAY is broadcasting live from the White House Tuesday, providing viewers with a tour inside rooms rarely ever seen by the public. In addition, Vice President Biden will join TODAY for an exclusive interview.
The interviews and visit come just hours before Obama makes his final appearance before a joint session of Congress.
Obama's comments mark his first since addressing the nation last week, when he used his executive authority to skirt congressional lawmakers and tighten gun-purchasing rules.