Former President Barack Obama took a shot at his successor, President Donald Trump, over immigration during a speech in Germany on Thursday, citing the wall.
Barack Obama made the slight while appearing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in front of a massive crowd at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Obama’s comment came the same day that President Trump visited NATO headquarters in Brussels, and just hours before Merkel traveled to Brussels to meet with Trump and other NATO leaders.
In Germany, Obama addressed thousands of attendees in the once-divided Germany and acknowledged his sharp differences with Trump over immigration.
Specifically, Obama targeted Trump’s push to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border but didn’t mention the current president by name:
In the eyes of God, a child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child. We can’t distinguish between them in terms of their worth and their inherent dignity and that they’re deserving of shelter and love and education and opportunity. Part of the job, I think, of governments is to express humanity and compassion and solidarity with those in need but also recognize that we have to operate within legal restraints and institutional constraints and the obligations that we have to the citizens of the country that we serve.
Obama said that “one way we can do a better job” when it comes to immigration “is to create more opportunities for people in their home countries.” The former president used as one example the fact that the U.S. gives billions of dollars in aid per year to other countries.
“When we provide development aid to Africa or we are involved in conflict resolution, those things we do not just for charity, not just because they’re the right thing to do or out of kindness, but also because if there are disruptions in these countries, if there’s conflict, if there’s bad governance, if there’s war, if there’s poverty … in this new world that we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves,” Obama said.
“We can’t hide behind a wall,” he said.
Americans should view those “investments” as part of their own “well-being,” Obama said.
Relevant portion begins around the 39:25 mark:
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and into his presidency, Trump advocated for a wall to slow illegal immigration and to help keep Americans safe from those seeking to do harm.
Obama, while he was still president, promoted amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Republicans widely criticized the former president for not sufficiently securing the southern border.