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Obama’s farewell world tour: President takes off for seven days to Greece, Germany and Peru to get the adulation he can’t get at home


  • The seven-day trip will see Obama visit Greece for the first time; he’ll tour the Parthenon and give his final foreign speech

  • He’ll stop through Germany for meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and European leaders from France, Spain, Italy and the UK

  • Trip ends in Peru at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where he’s also meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping

  • Lame duck president is trying to drag his policy agenda over the finish line and convince America’s allies the US will not back off its commitments

  • Speech will tout the United States’ economic growth under his leadership and put a positive light on globalization

  • In spite of Donald Trump’s victory, the president ‘will be running through the tape on January 20th,’ Obama’s advisers say

President Barack Obama is embarking on one last tax-payer funded journey abroad on Monday.


The seven-day trip will see Obama visit Greece for the first time and stop through Germany for meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European Union leaders on his way to Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

A lame duck president since last Tuesday’s national election, Obama is using the week-long escape, that includes a leisurely visit to the Parthenon, to drag his policy agenda over the finish line and convince America’s allies that the United States will not tear up binding, international agreements in the age of Donald Trump.

He’ll use his final overseas speech to tout the United States’ economic growth under his leadership, the White House says, and try once more to put a positive light on globalization.

The U.S. president had steadfastly promised world leaders that Trump would not win the White House as he pushed them to make commitments to combat climate change, accept his Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, that will govern trade in the region and sign on to a nuclear deal with Iran.

Obama said time and time again that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, need not be afraid that the United States go back on its promise to defend its allies.

As it turned out, Obama was wrong. Americans voted to elect his political nemesis and ideological opposite. The liberal president is now racing against the clock to salvage what he can of his legacy.

Obama always planned to travel to Greece and Peru to attend APEC, where he’ll meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.

The White House added a leg in between to Germany to ‘signal our solidarity with our closest allies in the world,’ a White House official said.

In meetings with the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, the White House says Obama will stress his administration’s ‘support for a strong and integrated and united Europe’ and ‘reinforce our support for the approaches that have been taken over the last eight years to try to promote economic growth, economic security, and global cooperation.’

‘First and foremost, focused on trying to ensure that his successor gets off to a good start and has the opportunity to succeed,’ Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes, said during a conference call.

Obama cast Trump as ‘uniquely unqualified’ to lead the country on the campaign trail and urged voters not to give him access to the county’s nuclear arsenal.

Just as he told the nation on Wednesday that it must unite behind the president-elect, Obama will go hat in hand to European leaders this week and convince them to work with Trump.

The sitting president will tell them that ‘no matter our preferred choice may have been in the election, right now we as Americans have a stake in seeing this incoming administration succeed, and frankly, the world has a stake in seeing America succeed, given the leadership role that we play.’

‘Look, we certainly expect that the election will be the primary topic on people’s minds everywhere we go,’ Rhodes said.

He added, ‘I think, frankly, that would have been the case no matter what the result. But I think that will be more so the case, given the direction that the election took.’

Despite Trump’s victory at the ballot box on Tuesday, the president ‘will be running through the tape on January 20th,’ Rhodes and other advisers to Obama have said.

‘We certainly know the positions that were taken throughout the course of the campaign. We will, of course, fully continue to implement our commitments under the Iran deal and under the Paris agreement,’ Rhodes told reporters on Friday, making reference to a treaty the U.S. signed that demands a reduction of carbon emissions.

Rhodes said the current administration recognizes that Trump and his aides will make their own decisions about those policies and it respects their right to do that – but the sitting president will not stop following the blueprint he laid out just because his party lost the election.

President-elect Trump met with President Obama at the White House last week for 90 minutes. They told press afterward they discussed a range of foreign and domestic policy issues.

Trump indicated that the talk with Obama had an effect and that he would be looking to the exiting executive for counsel.

Staffers were excluded from the Oval Office discussion.

However, Rhodes says ‘the main focus of their conversation,’ was a discussion of the transition period, which lasts just over two months and the ‘diverse array of challenges’ the country faces.

Among the topics they discussed was the ‘complexity in how we’re dealing with the terrorist threat, how we’re implementing the Iran deal, how the situation in Syria is unfolding, as well as the issues in Europe related to the refugees and NATO.’

Congress has not yet voted on Obama’s 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal. Republicans on Capitol Hill favored it and joined forces with the Democratic president to get Obama the authority he needed to continue negotiating it.

Trump campaigned against the trade deal in the states that won him the election. So did Clinton and congressional Democrats, further crippling legislative attempts to pass the accord.

House Speaker Paul Ryan backs the agreement but promised this summer that it will not come up for a vote before Obama leaves office.

‘We still think the TPP makes sense for America for economic and national security reasons, and that it’s important that we stay engaged in the region,’ Wally Adeyemo, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international economics said during the Friday preview of the president’s trip.

The White House official said the administration intends to ‘talk about how we can work together over the course of the remaining days of this administration to solidify the partnership with those countries.’

Obama is also slated to deliver a speech in Greece and hold a town hall for young people in Peru, in addition to government meetings in Germany.

‘We had not written the speech in advance of the election, so I can’t say that we’re editing it,’ Rhodes admitted in the Friday call.

The senior administration official said that the president would, however, dedicate a significant portion of his remarks to globalization as he did at his final United Nations General Assembly.

‘That will include, frankly, acknowledgement of our election results, the Brexit election results, and the sense that we’ve seen in a number of countries,’ he said, ‘there are challenges as people feel like decisions are made beyond their control, in some cases, as economies change, as inequality has persisted and, in some cases, has grown.’

Obama is also expected to talk about the ‘enormous progress’ the United States has made since he took office in 2009, ‘climbing out of the enormous economic hole, going from the depths of a Great Recession to years of job creation and economic growth, and narrowing inequality.’

‘We believe that we’ve set a good direction at home even as we also worked with countries around the world to stabilize the global economy which had been in a free fall, including many of the partners that we’ll be meeting with,’ Rhodes said.

The White House official contended that ‘even with all the progress we’ve made, we recognize, no matter what had happened in November that more work needed to be done.

‘And so I think that will be reflected in the President’s speech.’

By Francesca Chambers
The writer is the White House Correspondent for Dailymail.com