In rare public speech ending moments ago, Obama said Trump poses such a threat to America that it forced him to speak out.
“I’m here today because this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us as citizens of the United States need to determine just who we are, what it is that we stand for,” Obama said. “As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president, I’m here to deliver a simple message, which is that you need to vote, because our democracy depends on it.”
Laying out a brief history of America — starting with George Washington’s decision to step out of public life after leaving the presidency — Obama framed the 2018 elections as more significant than ever before.
And for the first time since leaving office, he said Trump’s name.
“It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause,” Obama said, to applause. “He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
It’s not just about Trump, he said. It’s about Republicans “who know better in Congress … bending over backwards to shield” Trump. They’re hypocrites, he said, and they’re just as dangerous to America. At times mocking them and at times laying into them, Obama said they’ve abandoned all that they’re supposed to stand for as Republicans, and as citizens of this country.
It was certainly nice to hear a presidential address that was not an hour and a half of bizarre rants, punctuated by “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!” and narcissistic self-praise (although Obama DID remind people that Trump is enjoying a recovery that Obama started — a true statement that is sure to get under Trump’s collar).
There was nothing subtle about the speech. Vote, and vote for Democrats, Obama said, several times. Trump’s policies on everything from the environment to veterans’ affairs are morally wrong, and a mismanagement of government.
“Even if you don’t agree with me or Democrats on policy, even if you agree with more libertarian economic views, even if you are an evangelical and the position on social issues is a bridge too far,” Obama said. “I’m here to tell you that you should still be concerned and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government. It should not be Democratic or Republican. It should not be partisan to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents.”
He went on: Everyone in the country, he said, should be able to agree that journalists aren’t the enemy of the people, that people shouldn’t be persecuted because of what they look like, that everyone should be able to stand up to Nazi sympathizers.
“We are Americans,” Obama said.
Trump supporters will have a problem with all of this. Watch.
Obama lecturing us is LITERALLY how you got Trump.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 7, 2018