Why does this guy feel compelled to explain Trump? Just give out US government text books to people and get on with life. This is how our system works. What’s left to explain?
It was supposed to be his grand valedictory tour. Now President Barack Obama must use his last major trip abroad to try to calm shocked world leaders about the outcome of the U.S. election, and what comes next when Donald Trump is president.
Trump’s unforeseen victory has triggered pangs of uncertainty at home and grave concerns around the world. Though Obama has urged unity and said the U.S. must root for Trump’s success, his trip to Greece, Germany and Peru forces him to confront global concerns about the future of America’s leadership.
“In some ways, there’s nothing to say,” said Heather Conley, a Europe scholar at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Conley said Obama’s trip, planned when it seemed certain Hillary Clinton would win, had been designed to reassure the world that the U.S. had regained its footing after an toxic campaign that unnerved foreign capitals. “Now the president has the unenviable task of telling his counterparts and explaining what Europeans are now coining ‘the Trump effect,'” Conley said.
For months, Obama lent credence to those concerns as he urged Americans to reject Trump. Standing alongside Singapore’s prime minister in August, Obama said Trump was “woefully unprepared” because he lacked “basic knowledge” about critical issues in Europe, Asia and the Mideast. And during a visit to Japan, Obama said he wasn’t the only world leader worried about Trump.
“They’re rattled by him, and for good reason,” Obama said in May. “Because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs, or a cavalier attitude, or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous, and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.”
Now, Obama must pivot and reassure the U.S. and other countries that somehow, it will all be OK.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said the president fully expects Trump’s election to be a dominant theme of the trip, but would emphasize his plans to keep carrying out his approach until Trump takes over. He said Obama would argue that basic U.S. principles like honoring treaty commitments have historically survived even the most dramatic changes of administrations.