Obama Urges Americans to Reject Leaders Who Thrive on ‘Climate of Fear and Hatred’

August 5, 2019 by Dan McCue
Rutgers President Robert Barchi awarded President Barack Obama ran honorary degree when he spoke at commencement in 2016.

Former President Barack Obama didn’t mention anyone by name Monday, but in a lengthy statement posted in response to two mass shootings over the weekend that left 32 people dead, he urged Americans to soundly reject “language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.”

In a statement released via Twitter Obama said no other developed nation would tolerate mass shootings like those that occurred in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend. 

“Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings,” the former president said.

Obama went on to compare the weekend’s shooters with the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations.

“These individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the Internet,” he said. “That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.”

If Obama refrained from calling out his successor by name, he otherwise left no doubt that he believes President Trump bears responsibility for the shootings.

Calling on Americans to behave with “the value of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy,” he urged then to  “reject leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life , or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.

“Such language isn’t new – it’s been at the root of most human tragedies throughout history, here in America and around the world,” Obama continued. “Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleasing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.”

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