Ex-US President Barack Obama on Friday said the US President Donald Trump is the symptom, not the cause of division and polarisation in the US. He said, “Trump is just capitalising on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
Barack Obama’s comment comes when he was delivering a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he reportedly accepted an ethics in government award. Obama’s remark is being seen as his first steps into the political fray ahead of the fall campaign. While he has endorsed several candidates and appeared at fundraising events, he has spent much of his post-presidency on the political sidelines.
“As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president but as a citizen, I’m here to deliver a simple message and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it,” Obama said.
Obama said, “Just take a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different, the stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are dire.” He added, “This is not normal.”
On Saturday, the former president will stump for House Democratic candidates from California at an event in Orange County, a conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several congressional seats. In the coming week, Obama is likely to campaign in Ohio for Richard Cordray, a Democratic nominee for governor, and Ohio Democrats.
His campaign activity will continue until October and it will also include fundraising appearances too. The adviser was not authorized to discuss Obama’s thinking publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. While the former president will be visible throughout the general election, the adviser said that Obama will not be seen daily throughout the campaign.