‘We can’t hide behind the wall’
The stark differences between former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump were on full display in Europe Thursday. Obama was in Berlin, Germany, discussing globalism with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a an event marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, while Trump pushed his America-first agenda as well as the Montenegrin prime minister at a meeting with NATO.
Did Trump just shove another NATO leader to be in the front of the group? pic.twitter.com/bL1r2auELd— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) May 25, 2017\n
Obama’s appearance was his most public since leaving office in January. Before a large crowd at Brandenburg Gate, he spoke out about the need to continue down the path of peace and prosperity by promoting international economic ties. “It has to be continually renewed, because there is a competing narrative of fear and xenophobia and nationalism and intolerance,” Obama told the crowd. “We have to push back against those trends.”
While speaking at the former site of the Berlin Wall, Obama used an apt metaphor to combat Trump’s isolationist policies. “We have to recognize that everything that happens on the other side of the world affects us as well. … if there’s conflict, if there’s war, if there’s poverty, we can’t isolate ourselves, we can’t hide behind the wall,” Obama said. Trump has called for building a physical wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and a metaphorical wall between the U.S. and Muslim-majority countries through his failed travel bans.
During the talk, Obama also showed his differences with Trump by speaking out in favor of helping refugees and immigrants. “In the eyes of God, a child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child,” he said. Obama also discussed the importance of equal education, saying “no country will be successful if it leaves half of its children … uneducated and on the sidelines. We have to think of them as all of our children. If Malia and Sasha are doing well, but the majority of their peers are not, that’s gonna affect their lives in some damaging way.”