President Obama stood next to Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and tried to ease the minds of Greece — and Europe beyond Greece — about incoming US President Donald Trump. As many have sought to do, Obama tried to separate what he sees as inflammatory Republican rhetoric from the real problems that rhetoric was used to address. The rhetoric, Obama acknowledged, was effective in winning the election. He also said the GOP talk, while perhaps pragmatic in a campaign, wasn’t always truthful.
Obama said both Donald Trump and Democratic contender Bernie Sanders “tapped into” something — a massive dissatisfaction with what’s perceived, right or wrongly, as the status quo. Obama said some of the rhetoric used to appeal to angry voters who felt disenfranchised was troubling, stirring up a “volatile mix” that utilized “issues of ethnic identity” as a means to an end. “You’ve seen some of the rhetoric among Republican elected officials and activists and media,” Obama said. “Some of it pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts, but being used effectively to mobilize people.”