In their last press conference, Obama and Merkel warn against Trump without mentioning him
In their last joint press conference, President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday delivered a strong warning against President-elect Donald Trump and his values without ever mentioning his name.
While the election of Trump, who has threatened to terminate numerous international relationships and agreements, has sent waves of uncertainty through the international community, Merkel stressed the importance of the U.S.-Germany alliance.
"We need this cooperation — let me say this from a German perspective very clearly and unequivocally — our bilateral relations are very good, they're very close," Merkel told reporters in Berlin.
Trump has garnered a reputation for his bombastic, antagonistic and, at times, erroneous tweets during his campaign, an issue implicitly addressed at the press conference by Obama, who is on what's expected to be his last trip abroad as president.
"Part of what's changed in politics is social media and how people are receiving information — it's easier to make negative attacks and simplistic slogans than it is to communicate complex policies," he said, according Time.
"If we are not serious about the facts and what's true and what's not, particularly in the social media era when so many get information from sound bites and snippets off their phone, if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems," the president said.
He suggested perpetuating this problem of the digital era can undermine democratic principles:
At an age where there's so much active misinformation ... where some overzealousness of a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere, if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, we won't know what to protect, we won't know what to fight for and we can lose so much of what we've gained.
The commitment of the United States to Europe is enduring and it's rooted in the values we share, values that Angela just mentioned: Our commitment to democracy, our commitment to the rule of law, our commitment to the dignity of all people — in our own countries and around the world.
The subject of climate change arose during the press conference, another issue Trump has controversially rejected in the past.
Energy policy proposals by the Trump transition team appear to seriously endanger the historic Paris climate agreement.
"We've made great progress, particularly if we look at one of the great global issues, namely climate protection," Merkel said, reminding the world of its import. "Without the engagement of the current administration under the leadership of Barack Obama, this Paris agreement would never have come about ... which will lead the way for the rest of the world."