Throughout President-Election Donald Trump’s campaign, Obama joined in with other liberal leaders claiming Trump had no experience in foreign relations. Now Obama is showing how it’s done on his own final international tour as President.
Speaking at a press conference Sunday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation summit in Lima, Peru, Obama managed to get in several jabs at President-elect Trump, who is soon to replace him in the Oval Office.
He said people should take a “wait and see approach” in how much Trump’s policy proposals once he is sworn in match up with the “rhetoric” of his campaign.
Loftily he said, “Once you’re in the oval office, begin interacting with world leaders, and see the complexities of the issues, that has a way of shaping your thinking and in some cases, modifying your thinking, because you recognize this solemn responsibility, not only to the America people, but the solemn responsibility American has as the most powerful country in the world.”
He claimed that “reality” will force Trump to “adjust” in the way he approaches many issues.
In reference to Trump’s business, Obama said when he took office, he “made a decision to liquidate assets that might raise questions about how it would influence policy,” and claimed that he’s taken the approach throughout his administration to “not just meet the letter of the law, but to go well beyond the letter to the spirit of the law.”
He claimed his administration has been scandal-free, saying, “I’m extremely proud of the fact that over 8 years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations.”
He reserved the right to criticize President Trump any time he sees fit.
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Obama said.
“As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it is necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes.”
President Obama also chatted briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Ukraine and the Syria crisis. The four-minute conversation came amid intense speculation and concern about whether Trump’s election might herald a more conciliatory U.S. approach to Russia
Putin, speaking later in Lima, said he and Obama had noted that while their working relationship had been difficult, they’d “always respected each other’s positions — and each other.”
“I thanked him for the years of joint work, and said that at any time, if he considers it possible and will have the need and desire, we will be happy to see him in Russia,” Putin said later.
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