‘Some elements of Trump’s temperament won’t serve him well’
Expressing concerns over a “whole bunch of issues” about his successor Donald Trump, outgoing US President Barack Obama has said the President-elect will soon realise that certain elements of his temperament would not serve him well unless he corrects them.
“I think what will happen with the President-elect is there are going to be certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognises them and corrects them,” Obama, 55, said.
“Because when you are a candidate and you say something that is inaccurate or controversial, it has less impact than it does when you are the President of the United States. Everybody around the world is paying attention. Markets move. National security issues require a level of precision in order to make sure that you don’t make mistakes. I think he recognises that this is different, and so do the American people,” Obama said.
During the election campaigning, even as late as last Monday, Obama had said that 70-year-old Trump was temperamentally unfit to be the president of the country.
Cautions against undoing of Iran, Paris deals
Obama has also cautioned Trump against undoing of international decisions like the Iranian nuclear pact and the Paris climate change agreement, saying a great deal of effort has gone into signing these landmark agreements.
“These international agreements, the tradition has been that you carry them forward across administrations, particularly if, once you actually examine them, it turns out that they are doing good for us and binding other countries into behaviour that will help us,” he said at a White House news conference.
He said the Iranian nuclear deal was good example of the “gap between” some of the rhetoric in this town, not unique to the President-elect, and the reality. “I think there was a really robust debate about the merits of the Iran deal before it was completed. I actually was pretty proud of how our democracy processed that. It was a serious debate. I think people of good will were on both sides of the issue. Ultimately, we were able to persuade members of Congress and the public, at least enough of them, to support it,” he said.
About the Paris Climate deal, Obama said there had been a lot of talk about the possibility of undoing this international agreement. “Now, you’ve got 200 countries that have signed up for this thing, and the good news is that what we’ve been able to show over the last five, six, eight years is that it’s possible to grow the economy really fast and possible to bring down carbon emissions as well. What the Paris agreement now does is say to China and India and other countries that are potentially polluting, come on board. Let’s work together so you guys do the same thing,” Obama said.
“If they are pursuing the same kinds of strategies that we did before we became more aware of the environment, then our kids will be choked off. Do I think that the new administration will make some changes? Absolutely,” Obama said.
To unravel a deal that’s working and preventing Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon would be hard to explain, particularly if the alternative were to have them free from any obligations and go ahead and pursue a weapon, he said. Obama said the agreement was not between the US and the Iranians, but between the P5+1 and other countries some of which are America’s close allies.
Trump committed to NATO alliance
Trump was committed to maintaining America’s core strategic relationships, including NATO, said Obama as he embarked on his last foreign trip while in office to reassure concerned allies after his successor’s election. “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 Transatlantic Alliance,” Obama said.
“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,” he said.