Estonian Leader Rues ‘Post-Truth’ Politics Before Trump Meeting

Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonia's president, pauses during an interview at the presidential palace in Tallinn on April 6, 2017.

Photographer: Peti Kollanyi/Bloomberg

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid criticized politicians who pursue divisive political campaigns and disregard facts, setting the tone a day before she meets U.S. President Donald Trump.

Leaders who win office with the help of “post-truth” campaigns but can’t deliver on their promises will see their governments fail, Kaljulaid told a conference in the Latvian capital, Riga, Wednesday. From there, she’ll head to Warsaw where she’ll meet her counterparts from 12 central and eastern European countries in the Three Seas Initiative. Trump will also attend.

“Post-truth is a short-termist strategy,” she said. “To counter post-truth politics, we need better political leadership.”

Like many other eastern European leaders, Kaljulaid has abstained from directly commenting on Trump’s decisions since he assumed office. Instead, she has reiterated trust in U.S. commitments to Baltic NATO members’ security following neighboring Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Kaljulaid didn’t directly refer to the U.S. She cited, however, a decision by the Oxford Dictionaries to pick "post-truth" as its 2016 word of the year when the organization noted a surge in the use of the term “in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States.”

— With assistance by Aaron Eglitis

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