Trump Responds to Obama's Fury Speech: 'I Fell Asleep'

Former President Barack Obama attacked President Donald Trump on Friday in an attempt to help the Democrats in the 2018 midterms, smirking as he suggested that Trump has not done anything to condemn "Nazis".

"It did not start with Donald Trump", Mr Obama said.

In his most direct speech since leaving the White House in early 2017, Obama took aim at President Donald Trump, the White House circus, oligarchs influencing policy with their huge wealth and - for a moment - our TV watching habits.

"And we're sure as heck supposed to stand up to Nazi sympathizers", Obama said, referring to Trump's comment that there was blame on "both sides" at a white nationalist rally past year in Charlottesville, Va.

Obama spoke to a packed auditorium with an audience of about 1,100 students, faculty and community members.

"If you don't like what's going on right now, and you shouldn't - do not - complain", Obama said. "That's not hypothetical. It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say that we don't threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don't like". The two visited Urbana restaurant Caffe Paradiso, where they drank tea (Obama paid) and met with constituents.

He took credit for the turnaround after the "reckless behavior of financial elites triggered a massive financial crisis, 10 years ago this week, a crisis that resulted in the worst recession in any of our lifetimes and caused years of hardship for the American people, for many of your parents, for many of your families".

"Former presidents generally have avoided critiquing their successors, but Obama has not kept up that tradition, having made a number of critical remarks about Trump since he left office in January 2017".

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"Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change", he said.

Obama made a case against voter apathy by unloading on the current state of the Republican Party, saying among other things that they are abdicating their responsibilities by doing nothing "when the president does something insane".

"This is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us as citizens of the United States need to determine just who we are, what it is that we stand for", Obama told a mostly student audience of about 1,300 at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign. Denouncing the university as a "corrupt institution" for giving Obama an award for ethics in government, Pollak insisted that Obama's "entire speech was based on a false conceit".

Obama is hitting the campaign trail for his fellow Democrats, with an event in California for House candidates and then a stop in OH next week. He says the country is at a pivotal moment in its history and "the consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire" than in prior elections.

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

Cordray is a former Obama appointee who was director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Obama is set to speak Friday as he accepts an ethics in government award in IL. The speech will be a preview of the argument Obama will make this fall campaign season.

The incident occurred during a campaign stop with IL gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker.

  • Darren Santiago