Saturday 20 January 2018

Barack Obama: No weakening of resolve on global security under Donald Trump

Barack Obama tried to soothe any fears about the security direction Donald Trump wants to take the US (AP)
Barack Obama tried to soothe any fears about the security direction Donald Trump wants to take the US (AP)

Barack Obama has said the US under Donald Trump will remain an "indispensable nation" for global security and praised the president-elect for vowing to maintain America's alliances.

Mr Obama tried to soothe any fears about the security direction Mr Trump wants to take America, after the Republican appeared to question the validity of Nato and other overseas US commitments at various points in his campaign.

During a meeting between the pair, Mr Obama said Mr Trump "expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships", including "strong and robust Nato" partnerships.

"There is no weakening of resolve," Mr Obama said before departing on a three-nation trip that is supposed to be his grand valedictory tour.

Instead, he will confront concerns about a Trump presidency in Europe and Latin America and try to reassure nations about a man who Mr Obama only a week ago derided as "woefully unprepared for the job" who "can't handle the nuclear codes".

"There is enormous continuity ... that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order around the world," Mr Obama said at a news conference at the White House.

Relationships and policies go beyond presidents, he said, adding that military officials, diplomats and intelligence officers would co-operate with their foreign counterparts as before.

Even as he visits Germany, Greece and Peru, Mr Obama said his team will accelerate efforts to ensure a smooth transition to the Trump administration.

He stressed that he would try to strengthen the American economy over his final two months, so that "when we turn over the keys, the car's in pretty good shape".

Mr Obama also said he thinks Mr Trump will seek to "send some signals of unity" to people alienated by his campaign.

He said he advised Mr Trump "to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign" and "that's something that he will want to do".

But Mr Obama added that Mr Trump is trying to balance commitments he made to "supporters that helped to get him here".

On the campaign trail, MrTrump described Mexicans as rapists and criminals, vowed to build a wall along the US's southern border and make Mexico pay for it, appeared to mock a reporter with a physical disability, and threatened to sue several women who accused him of assaulting them. He also disparaged the Muslim American parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq, and battled a former Miss America who is Latino about having gained weight.

Mr Obama dodged a question on concerns about Mr Trump's decision to name Steve Bannon - a man celebrated by the white nationalist movement - as his chief strategist and senior adviser.

He said both sides of the political divide should give Mr Trump some time to set up his team and Americans can judge him in a couple years.


Press Association

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