During a ceremony in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment, the Republican-backed measure that abolished slavery, President Obama used the solemn occasion to take swipes at GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and his proposal to temporarily freeze Muslims from entering the United States.
Obama urged the audience “to remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others regardless what they look like or where they come from or what their last name is or what faith they practice.”
“We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms,” Obama said.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied press queries that Obama’s remarks were aimed at Trump, adding that they were to be a response to the rhetoric “that’s being promulgated not just by Mr. Trump but a variety of Republican candidates.”
Not mentioned in Obama’s speech on Wednesday was the fact that the 13th amendment to the Constitution would not have passed if it were not for the overwhelming support of Republicans in both branches of Congress. Democrats, beholden and committed to sustaining the institution of slavery, voted to kill the amendment to free the slaves.