With President Trump meeting European leaders nearby, former President Barack Obama took a veiled swipe at him Thursday, telling an audience in Germany that modern nations “can’t hide behind a wall.”
“In this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves. We can’t hide behind a wall,” Mr. Obama said in Berlin at a forum with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mr. Obama made the comment as Mr. Trump, who plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, was meeting NATO and other European leaders across the border in Brussels, Belgium. Mrs. Merkel is set to have dinner with Mr. Trump later Thursday night.
Mr. Obama attended the event, sponsored by the Protestant church, at Mrs. Merkel’s invitation. He also warned the audience of young people to be wary of leaders who don’t question themselves.
“If I become so convinced that ‘I’m always right,’ ” Mr. Obama said, “the logical conclusion of that often ends up being great cruelty and great violence.”
Mr. Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared with Mrs. Merkel, whom he praised as one of his “favorite partners” during his presidency, at the German capital’s iconic Brandenburg Gate. Thousand of people attended the gathering to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation under heavy security.
Thursday’s event with Mr. Obama was criticized by some German opposition politicians as a publicity stunt ahead of September’s general election, in which Mrs. Merkel aims to win a fourth term.
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.