Despite his voiced desire to stay out of the political theater, former president Barack Obama returned again to defend his presidency and speak out against his successor Donald Trump.
The former president has repeatedly spoken out against Republicans and their policies, facing a sharp reversal of his presidency.
“I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much,” Obama said to reporters during the last press conference of his presidency. But it’s clear that the president has no intention of staying out of the public spotlight.
On Sunday, the president urged members of Congress to save Obamacare, his signature piece of legislation.
He described all the Democrats who voted for Obamacare and lost their re-election campaigns as a “profile in courage.” He urged members of Congress, “look at the facts” and “speak the truth” as they faced future legislation.
“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential,” he said. “But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm, those who often have no access to the corridors of power.”
Obama delivered his speech after receiving the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
In March, Obama issued a statement to defend his bill as Republicans neared a vote in the House of Representatives to replace it. He described his political victory as a moral one.
“We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody,” he said in a lengthy statement.
Obama also broke his silence to praise protests of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying that “American values are at stake.”
During a political forum at the University of Chicago, Obama defended an immigration system that wasn’t strictly adherent to the rule of law.
“It’s not like everybody on Ellis Island had their papers straight,” he said. “The history of our immigration has always been a little bit haphazard.”
He also urged students to confront “economic inequality” in the United States, inequality in the justice system, and even climate change.
Obama then broke his silence to endorse Emmanuel Macron, in an effort to break the chain of populist-nationalist political victories in Europe.
“I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run,” Obama said. “He has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world. And he is committed to a better future for the French people. He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.”
The president will likely speak out against the rising tide of populist-nationalism in the world later this month during a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about global responsibility.