Obama Will Make His First Post-presidential Diplomatic Trip to Germany
Obama will head to Berlin and Trump to Brussels on the same day.
In his first official diplomatic visit since leaving the White House in January, former President Barack Obama is set to meet up with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in May.
The visit has been in the works for some time, as Obama is slated to speak at an event in Berlin titled “Actively shaping democracy – taking responsibility at home and abroad.” The bishop of Bavaria invited Obama for the trip over a year ago to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Obama has been relaxing in the Caribbean — notably with billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson —but this trip will be his first official diplomatic visit.
His visit will now coincide with the kick-off of current President Donald Trump’s first trip to Europe, news outlets reported Thursday. The two will be traveling to Europe on the same day, with Trump headed to Brussels for a NATO summit.
Representatives from both the U.S. and German governments maintain that the concurrence of the two trips was not intentional, according to CNN.
The visit is slated to take place several months after Trump appeared to snub Merkel at a press conference, when a photographer asked the two to shake hands for a photo opportunity and he apparently refused.
Obama, on the other hand, has long had a warm relationship with Merkel, saying in November 2016: “If I were German and I had a vote I’d support her,” according to The Guardian.
Merkel is facing a difficult re-election later this year for her fourth term, as many Germans have soured on the chancellor over her refugee policies while the far-right in Germany has seen a surge in support.