Barack Obama Rebukes Trump, Warns Of ‘Strongman Politics’ In Powerful Mandela Speech
Former President Barack Obama offered an array of heavy-hitting rebukes against his successor, President Donald Trump, this morning at a speech given in honor of the 100th anniversary of South African revolutionary political leader Nelson Mandela.
The Guardian reported that the speech, which may very well have been Obama’s most significant public speaking role since leaving office, covered a wide range of topics but seemed to make frequent subliminal hints towards the controversies surrounding his successor’s administration.
Obama, who delivered the 2018 iteration of the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, warned that “strongman politics are ascending suddenly, whereby elections, some pretense of democracy, are maintained, the form of it.”
America’s previous commander in chief also made reference to “strange and uncertain” times, saying that “each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.”
From there on, he targeted politicians pushing “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment,” saying they are on the move “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago.”
Through all of these indirect jabs at his successor, one that may have been most direct criticism of Trump and his administration was in regards to the United State’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, stating that he cannot “find common ground” with people who believe that climate change is a hoax “when almost all the world’s scientists say it is [real].”
On top of this, the former president made mention of leaders who just “make stuff up,” and how the preservation of true fact is what is key in maintaining a functioning democracy.
“We see the utter loss of shame in political leaders when they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more,” Obama stated, subsequently alerting the world that the undermining of facts and the distortion of reality could “be democracy’s undoing.”
Of course, although many of these jabs seemed to be poised right at Trump, Obama made mention toward the end of any leaders across the world doing wrong by their people, stating that “democracy depends on strong institutions,” and how individuals in nations affected by circumstances similar to the ones he is describing should reject the notion that “the winner somehow gets 90 percent of the vote because all of the opposition is locked up or can’t get on TV.”
The speech ended with the 44th president of the United States issuing a call to action to young people, reminding them to stick to their ideas and to never stop fighting for the things that they believe in. “My message to you is simple,” he said. “Keep believing, keep marching, keep building, keep raising your voice.”