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Obama Supports the Protests, Says 'American Values Are at Stake'

In his first statement after leaving office, the former president distances himself from Trump and defends those protesting against the White House's travel ban.
January 30, 2017, 8:11pm
DoD photo by US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

On Monday, Barack Obama issued his first statement since departing the Oval Office, aligning himself with those protesting against Trump's controversial travel ban on refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, Politico reports. The statement, written by spokesman Kevin Lewis, echoes Obama's farewell address and defends protests when "American values are at stake."

"President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country," Lewis writes. He adds, "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."

The statement falls short of blatantly calling out Trump or explicitly addressing the executive order he signed Friday, which places a temporary ban on all refugees and denies entry to people traveling to the US from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days. It does, however, remind people that the ban is not something Obama would have done as president, so at least that's something.

"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 states.