Obama's First Statement Post-Presidency Supports Protests Against Trump's Executive Order

Barack Obama
January 30, 2017

Former President Barack Obama released a statement on Monday showing his support for the protests across the country against President Donald Trump's executive action temporarily barring citizens of certain countries from entering the United States.

"President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in the communities around the country," said Kevin Lewis, Obama's post-presidency spokesman. "In his final official speech as president, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy–not just during an election but every day."

Lewis said in the statement, Obama's first since leaving the White House, that "American values are at stake" if citizens do not go out and make their voices heard.

"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."

Demonstrators have been protesting across the country since Friday, when Trump signed an executive order that halts the Syrian refugee program and bars immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S. for at least 90 days.

Some supporters of President Trump have referenced actions that the Obama administration took to crack down on immigration from countries with terrorism problems. Lewis rejected any such comparisons in Monday's statement.

"With regard to comparisons to President Obama's foreign policy decisions, as we've heard before, the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion," Lewis wrote.

Lewis did not directly mention Trump's executive order but appeared to be referencing it.

Obama has been determining whether to stick with the tradition of deferring to the new administration over policy matters or speak out against the current president.