In a statement released on Monday, former President Barack Obama expressed solidarity with those protesting President Trump’s so-called Muslim Ban.
The statement is the first time that Obama has commented on Trump since leaving the White House.
Although the statement does not mention Mr. Trump by name — or, for that matter, his executive order — Obama’s position is implied.
Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis explained in the statement that,
President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizens and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy — not just during an election but every day.
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.
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.
Obama has been a vocal opponent of such policies for some time now. Following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, many Republicans called for the refugee program to be limited to Syrian Christians — something that Obama called “shameful,” saying, “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”
However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, when asked about the former President’s comments, defended Mr. Trump’s ban.
“It is a shame that people were inconvenienced obviously… But at the end of the day we are talking about a couple of hours.”