(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Former President Obama Targets Midterms

Gives Speech In Illinois Critical of President Trump

September 07, 2018 - 2:02 pm

URBANA, Ill. (AP) —  Former President Barack Obama has urged an audience of college students to not just vote in the midterm elections, but to lead the fight against President Donald Trump and his allies.

Obama said during a speech Friday at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that "you cannot sit back and wait for a savior." He said the biggest threat to democracy isn't Trump but "indifference."

The speech was a preview of the arguments Obama is expected to make as he starts campaigning for Democrats on the ballot this fall. He said people have asked him what he's going to do for the November election. Obama told the students: "The question is: 'What are you going to do?'"

Obama said: "If you thought elections don't matter, I hope these past two years have corrected that impression."

Obama  also says the U.S. needs to restore "honesty and decency" in government.

Obama says, "It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents, or to explicitly call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up."

He says, "I'm not making that up. That's not hypothetical."

President Donald Trump this week criticized the attorney general for prosecuting two Republican congressmen, saying it will hurt the party in the November elections.

Obama delivered a speech Friday at the University of Illinois that included several broadsides at Trump while rarely mentioning his name.

He said Americans and politicians of both parties should stand up against discrimination and "stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers." Obama said: "How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad?"

Obama also blasted Republicans, saying "the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party."

Obama said that the Republican-controlled Congress has championed the unwinding of campaign finance laws, made it harder for minorities to vote and voted multiple times to take health care away from ordinary Americans. He also says the GOP has "cozied up" to the former head of the KGB, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is calling out lawmakers for not standing up to President Donald Trump.

Obama said, "What happened to the Republican Party?"


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