Obama to Latin America: Give Trump ‘a chance’


President Obama on Saturday called for Latin America to give President-elect Donald Trump “a chance” to lead.

“The United States is such a big country that after any election people are uncertain,” Obama said during a speech at the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative in Peru as part of his final overseas trip as president.

“And I think it will be important for everybody around the world to not make immediate judgements but give this new president-elect a chance to put their team together, to examine the issues, to determine what their policies will be, because, as I always said, how you campaign isn’t always the same as how you govern,” Obama continued.

“Sometimes when you are campaigning you are trying to stir up passions. When you govern you actually have reality in front of you and you have to figure out how do I make this work,” he added.

Obama also expressed confidence in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, emphasizing that Trump is fully committed to embracing NATO despite his past comments questioning the alliance.

“The alliance between the United States and Europe through NATO is very strong. And the President-elect Trump has already reaffirmed our commitment to NATO,” he said.

Obama echoed part of Trump’s criticism of the alliance, saying his own administration has requested for European allies to “carry more of the burden” of defense spending.

“We actually have been asking under my administration for Europe to carry more of the burden of defense spending than they’ve been doing, because the United States spends a lot more than some of our NATO partners. And they recognized and acknowledged, I think, the need for them to spend more resources on that,” he said.

Obama also said he does not “anticipate major changes in policy” regarding Latin America, saying the new administration will leave in place most policies from his presidency. Still, Obama predicted a rise in tensions “around trade more than anything else.”

Obama argued Trump’s administration will likely leave parts of free trade policies in place after taking a closer look at how they work.

“Once they look at how it’s working, I think they’ll determine that its actually good both for the Unites States and our trading partners. There may need to be modifications — I’ve called for modifications in certain elements of our trading policy,” he said.

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