Obama blasts Trump and Republicans, urges Democrats to vote

Foellinger on Friday

Former President Barack Obama spoke out against President Donald Trump on Friday while speaking at the University of IL.

The speech will be an indictment of current events in the nation's capital, one Obama adviser said, and Obama will be "much more, much more pointed about what's at stake right now", and how "people need to take their responsibility seriously".

In a speech at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, Mr Obama said Americans were living in "dangerous times", urging Democrats to vote in November midterm elections to restore "honesty and decency and lawfulness" to government.

Obama didn't just call out Republicans as hypocrites for cutting taxes for the rich after a decade of pretending to care about the deficit-he made a call to action, telling Americans that if they don't vote in November, it's only going to get worse. "He is a symptom, not a cause", Obama told students at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign. "He's just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that's rooted in our past, but it's also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes".

Obama was referring to Trump's failure to quickly and directly condemn neo-Nazis who marched previous year in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But, Obama added, when there is a vacuum in democracy, "other voices fill the void".

As Obama noted, the supposed fiscal conservatism that Republicans cited as the reason they couldn't compromise disappeared overnight when they took power: "This is supposed to be the party of fiscal conservatism".

Instead, the president said, "I'm sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep".

"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".

America, Obama argued, has been through similar trials before - two steps forward in progress followed by a step back, with ebbs and flows throughout history.

The address comes as the former president and first lady delicately re-enter the political fray ahead of the midterm elections, a move filled with peril and opportunity as the most powerful duo in Democratic politics test whether they can help handicap Trump's presidency without also motivating his supporters to the polls. "That is not how our democracy is supposed to work".

Republicans said voters won't find Obama's argument appealing.

After his remarks, Obama will be presented the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government in a ceremony at the university president's residence on campus.

Mr Trump was dismissive of Obama's speech. "We are supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we sure are as heck are supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers".

Historically, midterms are lightly attended and Obama made a point of reminding his audience that only one in five young people voted in the 2014 midterm election. "I found he's very good". A top focus of his efforts will be helping Democrats retake the House, which he will kick off on Saturday with a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally in Orange County, California, for the seven Democrats running there in Republican-held districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016. "And that's you - you and your vote".

ABC News reported that "Trump told U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to make Palij's deportation his number one priority when he got to Berlin".