Barack Obama launched his midterm voting push with a speech addressing the “state of our democracy” at the University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday. Obama went in with a lot to say about Trump, delivering some of the strongest clapbacks to date.
For those who believe Obama has been too lax and hasn’t spoken up enough, the former president finally pulled no punches. Trump has been a product of a culture of people who are fearful of change, the ex-president said.
“It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause,” the ex-president said. “He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
But Trump wasn’t the only one that Obama checked during the speech. The president gave a rundown on his thoughts of the Republican party.
“Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party,” Obama said.
The speech had most of the signature and swagger that Obama has brought in his public speaking events during the more than a decade that he has been on the political landscape. He gave a lesson on U.S. history and reviewed his presidential record but his words on Trump were chosen as the speech’s most memorable moments. Here are a few of those comments.
Former President Obama, referring to “people who are genuinely... fearful of change” during speech at University of Illinois: “It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years." pic.twitter.com/WKdGJME0B9— CNN (@CNN) September 7, 2018
Former President Obama:— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 7, 2018
“How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?" pic.twitter.com/DOJnJS9zCV
Former President Obama: "What happened to the Republican party? ... In a healthy democracy, there's some checks and balances on this kind of behavior, this kind of inconsistency. But right now there's nothing." pic.twitter.com/XWapB279UN— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 7, 2018
“It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say that we don't threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don't like." President Obama #VoteDem 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/at90564D8J— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 7, 2018
Former President Obama: “The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the President’s orders... That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work…" https://t.co/dLxQqhvyWy pic.twitter.com/uMz5lntvgF— CNN (@CNN) September 7, 2018
President Obama calling out Trump on Charlottesville: “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?"pic.twitter.com/ptWGZfKdTo— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 7, 2018
President Obama: “Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party.” pic.twitter.com/u0YTCUESCp— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 7, 2018
Former President Obama, encouraging young people to vote: “What’s gonna fix our democracy is you… The threat to our democracy doesn't just come from Donald Trump… the biggest threat to our democracy is indifference…" https://t.co/dLxQqhdY50 pic.twitter.com/U8zBxnKP1P— CNN (@CNN) September 7, 2018
President Obama: "If you thought elections don't matter, I hope these last two years have corrected that impression." pic.twitter.com/KNaHv5i54p— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 7, 2018
President Obama on today's Republican Party: 'That's not what [Abraham Lincoln] had in mind...it's not conservative, it sure isn't normal. It's radical.' pic.twitter.com/72T0cOSyNH— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 7, 2018
Former President Obama: “When you vote, you’ve got the power to make sure white nationalists don’t feel emboldened to march with their hoods on or hoods off in Charlottesville.” pic.twitter.com/Heu66ZH1eF— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 7, 2018
President Obama: "I know there are Republicans who believe government should only perform a few minimal functions but that one of those functions should be making sure nearly 3,000 Americans don't die in a hurricane and its aftermath." pic.twitter.com/SCiJpaq795— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 7, 2018