A smug President Obama, preparing to embark on his last trip to Europe as president, saw fit to make himself available for a press conference in an effort to avoid being asked about domestic politics when he is overseas. During the news conference Obama audaciously took it upon himself to speak for President-elect Trump.
Politico reports that Obama said “President-elect Donald Trump is committed to NATO”and that “Trump signaled when they met last week that he would not be throwing out the decades-old alliance.”
Politico went on to note that during the campaign Trump was often critical of NATO and went so far as to call it “obsolete.”
The Associated Press similarly reported that vouching for his successor, Obama on Monday sought to reassure an anxious nation and world that Donald Trump would maintain America’s alliances and its status as the “indispensable nation.”
According to the AP, Obama did his best to soothe the pangs of uncertainty at home and abroad after a divisive campaign and questions from Trump about the validity of the United States’ security relationships in Europe and Asia:
“There is enormous continuity … that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order around the world,” Obama said. Relationships and policies go beyond presidents, he said, adding that military officials, diplomats and intelligence officers would cooperate with their foreign counterparts as before.
But we don’t have to take Politico’s nor the AP’s word for it. Here is the relevant passage from a transcript of the press conference:
QUESTION: You’re about to embark on a foreign trip. What will you say to other world leaders about your successor? They may press opinions(?) assuming you have about Donald Trump. Should they be worried about the future of U.S. foreign policy. And separately, as Democrats scramble to regroup after a pretty shocking upset, what is your advice about where the party goes now and who should lead your party?
OBAMA: One of the great things about the United States is that when it comes to world affairs, the president obviously is the leader of the Executive Branch, the Commander-in-Chief, the spokesperson for the nation, but the influence and the work that we have is the result not just of the president, it is the result of countless interactions and arrangements and relationships between our military and other militaries, and our diplomats and other diplomats, the intelligence officers and development workers. And there is enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world. That will continue. In my conversation with the president-elect he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, and so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Trans Atlantic Alliance. I think that’s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship and a recognition that those alliances aren’t just good for Europe. They are good for the United States and they are vital for the world. [Emphasis added]
Obama, unless specifically authorized by Trump, should not be speaking for him. But then Obama always makes every thing about Obama.