- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

President Obama and his wife were half a world away from each other Thursday, but they were focused on a common enemy: Donald Trump.

Meeting with some of America’s most important allies in Japan, Mr. Obama said world leaders are “rattled” by Mr. Trump’s “ignorance of world affairs.”

“They are paying very close attention to this election,” the president said at the Group of Seven nations summit. “I think it’s fair to say they are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements. But they’re rattled by them, and for good reason.”

First lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, told graduating high school students in New Mexico to reject leaders who are “telling us that we should disrespect others because of who they are or where they come from or how they worship.” She didn’t mention Mr. Trump by name, but clearly was referring to the nominee and his party in some of her harshest words of the campaign.

Mr. Trump laughed off the president’s attack, saying he’s glad if foreign leaders are worried about him. He said the U.S. needs a new sheriff on the world stage, after Mr. Obama’s weak leadership.

“When you rattle someone, that’s good,” Mr. Trump told reporters in North Dakota. “As you know, many of the countries in our world have been absolutely abusing us and [taking] advantage of us. We’re going to have great relationships with these countries, but if they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing not a bad thing.”


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Asked by a reporter if Mr. Obama should be observing a reverse form of the political maxim not to criticize a president when he’s traveling abroad, Mr. Trump suggested he’ll sharpen his attacks on the president’s foreign policy in the general election.

“He is a man who shouldn’t be really airing his difficulties [at the summit],” Mr. Trump said. “And I think that you’re going to see it stop pretty soon.”

Mr. Obama hasn’t specified which foreign leaders are nervous about the possibility of Mr. Trump becoming president. But the G-7 meeting includes the heads of the United Kingdom, whose Parliament debated banning Mr. Trump; Japan, whose leaders are known to be alarmed by the Republican’s suggestion that Tokyo and South Korea should develop their own nuclear arsenals; Germany, whose chancellor, Angela Merkel, was termed “a disastrous leader” by Mr. Trump; Canada, whose new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has said in a reference to Mr. Trump that Canadians reject “the politics of fear”; Italy, whose prime minister has said he’s “rooting” for Hillary Clinton; and France, whose president, Francois Hollande, has never mentioned Mr. Trump’s name in public.

The seventh leader in the G-7 is, of course, Mr. Obama, who said Thursday that Mr. Trump’s proposals “display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines, instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.”

The president’s comments came on the eve of his historic visit to Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bomb attack, in World War II. He’s said he won’t apologize for the bombing, although critics are concerned his visit there will appear to be an apology regardless of his words.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Obama has done a “horrible job.”

“He’s a president who’s allowed many of these countries to totally take advantage of him, and us, unfortunately, and he’s got to say something,” Mr. Trump said. “And it’s unusual that every time he has a press conference, he’s talking about me.”

Mrs. Obama also went after the Republican nominee Thursday, although less directly. In her commencement address at the Santa Fe Indian School, she criticized leaders who advocate “that we should be selfish.”

“More than ever before, our world needs you,” Mrs. Obama said. “And you don’t need your first lady to tell you that. All you have to do is tune into the news and you’ll see that right now, some of the loudest voices in our national conversation are saying things that go against every single one of the values that you’ve been living at this school.”

She said the values of her opponents “are not the values that build strong families.”

“They’re telling us that we should disrespect others because of who they are or where they come from or how they worship,” Mrs. Obama said. “They’re telling us that we should be selfish — that folks who are struggling don’t deserve our help. That we should just take what we can from life and not worry about anyone else.”

Mr. Trump has proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and has called for building a wall along the Mexican border.

The first lady went on, “And they’re saying that it’s OK to keep harming our planet and using our land, our air, our water however we wish.”

“You all know that those are not the values that shape good citizens,” Mrs. Obama said. “Those are not the values that build strong families, and communities, and nations. So we desperately need your voices and your values in this conversation, reminding us that we are all interconnected, all obligated to treat one another with respect.”

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