WASHINGTON, DC – Former President Barack Obama criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order curbing immigration in a statement on Monday, backing protesters who have taken to the nation’s airports to express their displeasure with Trump’s action on Friday.
“The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” said Kevin Lewis, spokesman for the former president, in a statement.
This is first time Obama, who ceded power to Trump 10 days ago, has criticized the current president, breaking with an unwritten rule that former presidents refrain from criticizing the current White House occupant.
It is also the former president’s first statement since leaving the White House.
The statement also rejected the comparison between a 2011 temporary immigration order by Obama that halted Iraqis coming to the US and the broader ban by the Trump administration on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Here is the statement:
President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. 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.
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.
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.