Barack Obama had stayed largely out of the political arena since leaving office, but this weekend made one of his most direct attacks on Donald Trump as he shared an op-ed written by former staffers calling out Trump’s racism and sexism.
Obama on Saturday said he was proud of the group of 148 African American former staffers who co-signed a Washington Post op-ed saying that Donald Trump was “un-American” for telling a group of Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “original” countries. Three of the four were born in the United States, while the fourth is a naturalized citizen who emigrated from Somalia.
The op-ed said that the staffers stood with the congresswomen and that they would refuse to stand by as “racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy.”
Though Barack Obama stayed out of the public eye for a year after leaving office and has been hesitant to comment on Donald Trump’s presidency, he offered a full endorsement of the op-ed on Saturday.
“I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better,” Obama tweeted.
Donald Trump’s attack on the congresswomen was widely condemned as racist, with even a number of Republicans joining in on the criticism and calling on Trump to delete the tweet, which he did not. Trump drew more criticism just hours before Obama shared the op-ed on Saturday afternoon when he launched into an attack on black Congressman Elijah Cummings. Minutes after a Fox News segment that attacked Cummings’ district in Maryland, Trump echoed the segment by claiming that the Baltimore-centered district was “disgusting” and a “rat and rodent-infested mess.”
Barack Obama became more politically active in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, appearing on the campaign trail and helping boost Democrats as they took back the House of Representatives. Obama has already laid out his plans to help the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election, helping the Democratic National Committee to promote party unity.
I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better. https://t.co/0cfDltjueP
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 27, 2019
The Unity Fund, announced by Obama in May, is meant to bring the party together around the eventual nominee. As CNN reported, the effort appears to be a reaction to the fractions that appeared within the party in 2016. Barack Obama has said that he will not endorse a candidate during the Democratic primary.