Via NY Post: President Obama departed Monday on his final foreign trip of his presidency — and the main topic of the three-country tour is expected to be President-elect Donald Trump.
“We certainly expect that the election will be the primary topic on people’s minds everywhere we go,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The president will travel to Athens on Monday, then to Berlin on Wednesday and finally Lima, Peru, on Friday. He’s expected to return to Washington, DC, on Sunday.
In addition to meeting Greek and German leaders, Obama will meet with President Francois Hollande of France, President Mariano Rajoy of Spain, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom.
“In a moment of deep shock and depression in Europe — the US was not supposed to elect Donald Trump — this visit has become a kind of group therapy by which European leaders will try to reassure themselves that the America we know won’t disappear,” Josef Joffe, a Stanford University scholar, told the Journal.
In Greece, Obama is scheduled to give a speech about globalization and the rise of populism. “And that will include, frankly, acknowledgment of our election results, the Brexit election results,” Rhodes said.
The trip, scheduled before this month’s presidential election, was supposed to be a celebratory world tour for Obama, but has now transformed into something quite different.
“President Obama will be speaking for himself and for the office of the presidency,” Rhodes told reporters. “He can convey, obviously, that the United States of America fulfills its commitments through democratic transitions and through different administrations,” he added.