Obama says Trump faces re­al­ity check

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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.” –

Photo: AFP

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,

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