Obama Takes Aim At Trump Proposal: ‘We Can’t Hide Behind A Wall’

Former U.S. President Barack Obama smiles during a discussion event on democracy and global responsibility at a Protestant conference in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017, when Germany marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Gero Breloer/AP

Former President Barack Obama on Thursday took some not-so-oblique jabs at President Donald Trump’s nationalist, isolationist ideology.

During a debate in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump once declared his favorite world leader, Obama appeared to criticize Trump’s “America First” policy and his proposed border wall.

“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,” Obama said. “We can’t distinguish between them in terms of their worth and their inherent dignity and that they’re deserving of shelter and love and education and opportunity.”

Obama said that governments should “express humanity and compassion and solidarity with those in need,” while recognizing their obligations to their citizens and making clear that such aid is not a zero-sum equation.

“When we provide development aid to Africa, or we are involved in conflict resolutions, those things we do not just for charity, not just because they’re the right thing to do or out of kindness,” he said.

Obama said such “disruptions” have a global effect.

“If there’s conflict, if there’s bad governance, if there’s war, if there’s poverty, in this new world that we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves,” he said. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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