Standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama said that he hopes that as president, Donald Trump will resist Russia when it deviates from what he called American "values and international norms," rather than acting to "cut some deals" with Vladimir Putin. At a joint news conference today with Merkel, Obama said that he does not expect Trump will "follow exactly our blueprint or our approach."
Obama said that Trump should not “simply take a realpolitik approach and suggest that if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do whatever's convenient at the time."
Merkel, who has been assailed by some Germans for admitting more than 1 million refugees over the last year, said she is willing to meet with the incoming Trump administration with "an open mind." Reflecting on the current transition between the Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration, Merkel said "We all know that democracy lives off change." Appearing to express disappointment that Obama cannot serve another term in office, Merkel said in reference to Constitutional amendment that prohibits more than two terms to any one president, said, "It's a tough rule: Eight years and that's it."
Appearing to take a swipe at Trump, Obama said he remains "cautiously optimistic" because "there is something about the solemn responsibilities of that office, the extraordinary demands that are placed on the United States," that demand seriousness from a president. "If you're not serious about the job, then you probably won't be there very long because it will expose problems," Obama said.
Obama said advised Trump that the talents that brought the New Yorker to the White House may not be those that are needed in government. Citizens will be watching "what he says" and "how he fills out his administration," Obama added.
Obama and Merkel an opinion article today in Germany's weekly business magazine WirtschaftsWoche that were also directed at the future Trump administration, as well as European leaders. The pair of leaders said that the "underlying bedrock of our shared values is strong."
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