Speaking to NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Obama acknowledged said there was one “narrow” definition of political correctness, which he characterized as “as a hypersensitivity that ends up resulting in people not being able to express their opinions.”
Still, he said, that kind of political sensitivity isn't the exclusive territory of liberals.
“[T]he irony in this debate is often-times you'll hear somebody like a Rush Limbaugh, or other conservative commentators, or you know, radio shock jocks, or some conservative politicians, who are very quick to jump on any evidence of progressives being 'politically correct,' but who are constantly aggrieved and hypersensitive about the things they care about and are continually feeding this sense of victimization, and that they are being subject to reverse discrimination,” he said.
Obama said he faced such a response in reaction to his use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” the latter of which Trump has taken to gleefully wishing audiences on his “Thank You Tour.”
“It sounds funny now, but you'll have entire debates in conservative circles around that. So it cuts both ways,” Obama said. “And my advice to young people, and my advice to all of us as citizens, is to be able to distinguish between being courteous and being thoughtful and thinking about how words affect other people and not demonizing others versus having legitimate political debates and disagreements.”