Former President Barack Obama called for a shake-up in political leadership during a speech in Hawaii over the weekend, saying there was a need for “new blood,” the Hill reported.
Speaking during a private reception with the Obama Foundation, the former president noted that “people cling to power” instead of searching for — and highlighting — the power in other people.
Obama explained that following his departure from the White House, he still had a myriad of causes he wanted to work for — but inspiring and investing in the next generation of leadership became his main focus.
“So that they have the platform, the opportunity to channel their amazing energy and passion and imagination, in order to bring a whole new set of eyes and ideas and possibilities to the world,” he said. “We have a deficit of leadership and we need new blood.”
Many news outlets, including the Hill, noted that in typical fashion, Obama made no mention of current President Donald Trump. Instead, he kept his speech light and hopeful, focusing on the leaders of the future and circling back to the major theme of his 2008 presidential campaign.
“We are, once again, going to change the world for the better,” he said.
Obama’s statement seems to echo a movement which a large part of the country has already demonstrated they agree with. Last week, the new Congress was sworn into office, a Congress that the New York Times reported includes a total of 111 new faces between the House and the Senate.
A total of 43 seats were flipped in the House, 41 of which came from Democrats. The congressional freshman class of 2019 is also seeing its most racially diverse and female-dominated group of representatives ever elected to the House.
Members within the House of Representatives have also called for new life among its own leadership, starting with the position of Speaker of the House. While Nancy Pelosi ultimately took the position for the second time last week, a significant number of lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties were opposed to the California Democrat taking on the role.
“I believe we need new leadership to put the partisan gridlock behind us and I promised my constituents I would vote for new leadership,” Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Conor Lamb told the Hill back in November — after Pelosi won the nomination for Speaker of the House. In total, 16 Democrats signed an anti-Pelosi letter calling for new leadership.