Obama expects questions about Trump succession on foreign goodbye tour
WASHINGTON — White House officials say President Barack Obama is prepared to spend his final major foreign trip talking about Donald Trump.
Obama leaves Monday for a six-day trip to Greece, Germany and Peru. In Greece, he’ll tour the Parthenon, give a speech about globalization and meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The White House says the stop in Greece is Obama’s final state visit before leaving office.
Obama in Germany will meet and have dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and also meet with a group of European leaders that includes British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Francois Hollande.
He’ll attend an Asia economic summit in Peru, and while in Lima will also meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull.
The trip was imagined as a goodbye tour and a chance to bolster support for Obama’s agreements on Iran’s nuclear program, trade and climate change.
But deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says Obama expects to face questions about how Trump’s election affects those deals.
In the case of trade, White House officials acknowledged on Friday that it was now up to Trump and Republican congressional leaders to determine the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Although many Republicans support free trade, Trump spent months blasting the 12-nation agreement, and both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have indicated it won’t come to a vote before Obama leaves office.
On Friday, Rhodes could not describe a path ahead for the deal.
“We’re clear-eyed about the current situation,” Rhodes said. “But we believe what we believe about the value of trade and the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the United States. And I think, given its size and importance, it’s going to have to continue to be a focus for the next president and Congress going forward no matter what.”