Obama says Trump faces reality check
PRESIDENT Barack Obama cautioned against dire predictions for Donald Trump’s presidency, saying his Republican successor faces a reality check if he tries to enact his most controversial campaign promises.
The outgoing Democratic leader made his comments at a wide-ranging news conference before he embarked on a farewell visit to Europe on November 14 to reassure worried allies about a man he once warned was “unfit” to lead the United States.
Mr Trump’s election win last week over Hillary Clinton has been met with euphoria among his supporters, but also with a wave of protests across the nation that are unusual for the world’s leading democracy.
The 70-year-old Republican billionaire – who takes office in just nine weeks – was holed up in his home office in Manhattan with his inner circle, working to shape his new administration.
While admitting that he had “concerns” about his successor, the message Mr Obama delivered was designed to comfort those still ill at ease with Mr Trump – and a lesson for the billionaire populist in the art of the presidency.
Mr Trump, a 70-year-old real estate developer who had never run for political office, has threatened to shake up America’s most important international relationships.
But Mr Obama said that deporting millions of immigrants, tearing up mutual defence treaties with NATO and Japan, and unravelling global deals on Iran’s nuclear program and the environment were not as simple as delivering tub-thumping rhetoric.
“Regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up,” Mr Obama said.
“Reality has a way of asserting itself,” he added, offering his view that Mr Trump is pragmatic rather than ideological.
Mr Obama said that during a meeting with Mr Trump at the White House last week, he had told the president-elect that his actions can move markets, tanks and public sentiment.
Amid dire predictions about the end of the republic and the global order, Mr Obama said that Mr Trump’s inexperience in politics and lack of intellectual baggage could be an asset in the final analysis
Mr Obama said that Mr Trump had already conveyed a “commitment to NATO” that seemed to run against his campaign promises.
During a visit this week to Europe, and then Peru for a summit with Asia-Pacific leaders, Mr Obama said he would be able to tell allies “there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship.”
Huge anti-Trump demonstrations have continued every night in New York and other cities since a surprise election in which Ms Clinton won the popular vote but lost the all-important electoral vote.
Mr Obama tried to steer clear of giving Democrats advice on how to recover from the brutal loss of the White House, both houses of Congress and, inevitably, the Supreme Court.
“I think it’s important for me not to be big-footing,” he said. “I think we want to see new voices and new ideas emerge.” –
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 14,