Former President Barack Obama issued a statement reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive order to restrict immigration from high-risk countries in the Middle East, urging Americans to organize against the president.
“President Barack Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement to reporters.
Through his spokesman, Obama also opposed discrimination against people because of their faith or religion, although he did not say that Trump’s actions did so.
“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before,” Lewis said. “The president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Lewis recalled the former president’s final speech as president, urging Americans to “be the guardians of our democracy.”
“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,” the statement read.
In November 2016, Obama was asked whether he would criticize his successor if he disagreed with him, imitating former President George W. Bush for remaining silent.
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Obama said during a press conference in Peru.
But Obama specified that he would reserve the right to speak out, if he felt that Trump was affecting core American ideals.
“[I]f I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes,” he said.