President Trump is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the NATO gathering in Brussels today, but on Thursday the German chancellor was side by side with former President Obama. He was in Germany at an event that marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Former President Obama took the opportunity to take a jab at President Trump. “In this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves,” Obama said according to the Associated Press. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”
Obama was referencing Trump’s signature campaign rally cry to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as a major move in the fight against illegal immigration. Obama continued his speech with Merkel by saying, “we have to push back against those trends that would violate human rights or suppress democracy or restrict individual freedoms.” He made a final pass at a veiled reference to Trump when he warned the crowd about people who are always certain of their opinions, “If I become so convinced that I’m always right,” Obama said, “the logical conclusion of that often ends up being great cruelty and great violence.”
President Obama had high praise for German Chancellor Merkel, calling her one of his “favorite partners” in his presidency. He said that she had done “outstanding work.” The pair rose above tensions that emerged after revelations in 2013 that the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped Merkel’s phone lines, as well as other German officials. In spite of this controversy, they maintained a cooperative relationship. Obama has previously called Merkel his “closest ally.”
It remains to be seen how the relationship will be between Merkel and Trump. They met for the first time at the White House earlier this year, and will be together at the NATO gathering this week. Trump has frequently been critical of the German chancellor because of her open-border policies as well as Germany’s aggressive offers for asylum with refugees.
How do you think Trump will get along with Merkel? Do you think that Obama should have made a public appearance with the German chancellor so close to Trumps meeting with her at NATO? What do you think about Obama’s veiled references to Trump?
Credit: The Hill