After nine days of silence, former President Barack Obama is speaking out against President Trump and his xenophobic executive order banning Syrian refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. He also had words of encouragement for those protesting this new administration.
According to Politico, in a statement issued on Monday, Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis said the former president was “heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country” because he believes they’re “citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”
Lewis also addressed recent comments that the Trump White House made saying that their ban is no different from what President Obama did in 2011, when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.
But according to the fact checkers, that comparison is pretty faulty. As NBC News pointed out, Obama’s 2011 order did not ban visas for refugees, who by definition don’t travel on visas. He did tighten the review process for Iraq citizens and for refugees from the six other countries, while Trump’s order is as sweeping ban that applies to nearly every resident and citizen of seven countries, minus the Muslim countries he has done or currently has businesses in.
“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” Lewis added.
He was referencing comments Obama made in 2015 after the Paris terrorist attacks when Republicans expressed that they only wanted to let Christian Syrian refugees enter the country, leaving Muslims behind. Obama said back then that these proposed policies were “shameful,” the Huffington Post noted.
“That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” he said. “I think it is very important for us right now — particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard — not to fall into that trap, not to feed that dark impulse inside of us.”
The former president’s recent statements may come as a slight surprise given that before leaving office he vowed to uphold the tradition of not criticizing the incoming leadership. But on the other hand, he did promise to speak out when he saw core values being threatened under Trump, Politico explained.
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The Obamas Through The Years
21 photos Launch gallery
1. The couple wed on October 3, 1992. (AP)
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2. Barack popped the question at Gordon’s Restaurant, When dessert was served, the ring box was sitting on the plate. (AP)
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3. When Michelle first saw Barack's picture in a law firm directory she thought he had a big nose. (AP)
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4. For their Honeymoon, the Obamas drove down the California coast drinking wine and eating pizza. (AP)
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5. The Obamas were caught on the NBA's kissing cam, Michelle shyly denied the POTUS, before laying one on him the next time.(AP)
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6. They love the law. Both of them hold law degrees and worked as attorneys at the beginning of their careers. (AP)
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7. Michelle says Barack often helps her wash the family dishes. (AP)
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8. The Obama's first kiss was in front of the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop.
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9. The two met while working at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin in 1989, Michelle was Barack's supervisor. (PR)
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10. After refusing to go out with Barack for a month, Michelle finally agreed to their first date which was filled with fun. (PR))
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11. The couple saw Spike Lee's classic movie "Do The Right Thing on their first date. (AP)
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12. Also, on their first date the couple visited the art institute and ate at a cafe. (AP)
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13. The Obama's finished off their first date with a drink on the 99th floor of the John Hancock Building in Chicago. (AP)
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14. Michelle says Barack tucks her in to bed at night at 10pm since he goes to bed much later. (AP)
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15. In an interview with E Online, Michelle says she likes "None of the above" when it comes to boxers or briefs for the President.
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16. Michelle's nickname for the President is "Honey."
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17. The President credits Michelle with getting him to quit smoking cigarettes.
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18. The Obamas are said to use webcams to keep in touch while traveling apart.
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19. Just like us: Michelle revealed that the President can't make beds and that he never puts the butter away.
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20. The couple has two beautiful daughters, Malia and Sasha. (AP)
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21. Michelle is quoted saying the best gift she ever received from the President is "my children."
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