Former President Barack Obama has been remarkably restrained in his comments on the current political situation, even as Donald Trump does everything in his power to erase all vestiges of Obama’s legacy from America.
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Trump’s most recent demonstration of racial animosity, however, has pushed the former President to make one of his most overt — if still somewhat indirect — comments on the Trump administration when he retweeted a Washington Post op-ed entitled “We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by” that was signed by 148 African-Americans who had worked in the Obama administration.
Obama expressed pride in what his former team had accomplished while they worked for him, but was even more proud of the fact that they were continuing to fight for justice and for improving our nation as he shared a link to the joint opinion essay.
I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better. https://t.co/0cfDltjueP
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 27, 2019
The essay garnered considerable media attention when The Washington Post published it last night because of the Obama veterans’ vow to oppose “racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia … wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy.”
The op-ed attacked Trump for his racist tweets telling the four members of “the squad” — Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
The ex-Obama officials couldn’t let the pretender to the presidential office get away with that comment without rebuke.
“There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined,” they wrote, pledging their support to “the squad” and anyone else unfairly attacked by Trump and his supporters for their ethnicity or skin color.
It was a sentiment heartily endorsed not only by Barack Obama but by his wife Michelle who sent her own tweet denouncing Trump’s racist sentiments shortly after he sent his original tweets attacking the four Congresswomen of color.
What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 19, 2019
Hopefully, President Obama’s tweet today heralds a return to political activism in the face of the overwhelming challenges that the regressive policies of the Trump administration now pose for the country.
If only by bringing increased attention to the forceful words of his former staff, Barack Obama has already had a significant effect on the political landscape. Let’s hope he continues to speak out at this time when his voice is needed more than ever.
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Original reporting by Colby Itkowitz at The Washington Post.