Concerns about Trump loom amid Obama’s last trip

Kathleen Hennessey
Associated Press

Washington — Donald Trump’s election has changed the nature of President Barack Obama’s final foreign trip as commander in chief, a two-continent journey that he expected to be an amicable farewell to the leaders of more than two dozen countries.

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.” He credited the president-elect for tapping into American voters’ anxiety and enthusiasm.

“Do I have concerns?” Obama added. “Absolutely.”

Speaking at a White House news conference before a trip to Greece, Germany and Peru that was supposed to be his grand valedictory tour, Obama pointedly refused to criticize Trump, who only a week ago Obama said was “woefully unprepared for the job” and couldn’t “handle the nuclear codes.”

Instead, Obama did his best to soothe the pangs of uncertainty at home and abroad after a divisive campaign that included charges of racism, sexism and other offensive rhetoric, 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.

In his White House meeting with Trump last week, Obama said the Republican “’’expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships,” including “strong and robust NATO” partnerships.

Obama stressed that he would try to strengthen the American economy over his final two months, so that “when we turn over the keys, the car’s in pretty good shape.”

Bloomberg News contributed.