Merkel Wins Departing Nod From Obama as She Weighs Re-Election

  • Chancellor says she’s ready to work with Trump administration
  • Obama gives Merkel his stamp of approval for 2017 election

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s ready to work with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and won praise for her leadership from Barack Obama, who suggested Germans would do well to re-elect her next year.

Obama’s comments Thursday in Berlin came within a whisker of endorsing Merkel, who’s weighing whether to seek a fourth term as the U.S. president prepares to exit the world stage. As she’s done for months, Merkel held off on declaring whether she’ll run again at the joint news conference. Even so, Obama heaped praise on her 11-year chancellorship.

“I think she’s been outstanding,” the president said on what’s likely to be his farewell visit to Europe. “That’s a matter for the German people, but I value Angela’s leadership. If I were German and I had a vote I might support her. But I don’t know whether that hurts or helps.”

The president went on to laud her in response to questions from reporters. “If she chooses to continue, you’re right, she will have a big burden,” Obama said. “I wish I could lighten her load somewhat, but she’s tough.”

QuickTake Angela Merkel

Faced with the second U.S. transition during her time in office, Merkel said it’s in the German government’s interest to cooperate constructively with a Trump administration “on the basis of our values, which I believe are shared values.”

As Obama warned that any weakening of the trans-Atlantic alliance could lead to a “meaner, harsher, more troubled world,” Merkel said Germany recognizes the need to step up globally and to contribute more to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance.

Merkel, who signaled support for defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the past, made it clear that she’s moving on to the reality of a Trump administration.

“There’s an interest in Germany for good cooperation with the U.S.,” she said. “That goes for every president, on the basis of values -- values that should be held jointly.”

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