Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values


"Yesterday we had Trump and Putin standing together, now we are seeing the opposing team: Obama and Mandela".

Former President Barack Obama offered a sobering and alarming view of the state of the world in what appeared to be a rebuke of President Donald Trump, warning that nationalist and populist sentiments are making their way into the mainstream.

New York Times columnist Bari Weiss called Obama's remarks "an unbelievable rebuke to the dead-end of identity politics". "Whereby elections and some pretense of democracies are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seem to undermine every institution and norm that give democracies meaning".

And he also spoke about leaders who "completely make stuff up" in another apparent jab at Trump, saying that facts need to be upheld in order for democracy to thrive. He also criticized what he called the "utter loss of shame among political leaders, where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more".

Watch more above from Rick Leventhal's report on Shepard Smith Reporting. He said democracy is on the line with such lies.

Obama, delivering his first big speech since leaving office, stressed the impact that Mandela made in the lives of people that lived far away from South Africa. He said that it was "not wrong" to insist that national borders matter, but that it can't be an "excuse" to implement immigration policies "based on race or ethnicity or religion".

There are probably more than a few on the left, however, who wish Mr Obama would give more than a few speeches and carefully worded statements.

Mandela, who died in 2013, remains a global icon for his long struggle against white-minority apartheid rule and for his message of peace and reconciliation after being freed following 27 years in prison. He stopped earlier this week in Kenya, where he visited his late father's rural birthplace.

"It is a plain fact that racial discrimination still exists in both the United States and South Africa", he said.

Barack Obama has kept a notably low profile since departing the presidency in January 2017, only occasionally weighing in on political affairs to advocate for his most cherished initiatives, like the Affordable Care Act and the Iran deal, as President Trump attempts to dismantle his legacy. "We can enforce the law while respecting the essential humanity of those expecting a better life".

Many South Africans feel that Mandela's hopes for the country have been dashed by his successors.

He took hits at Trump's insecurity and treasure trove of insulting nicknames in an aside that prompted knowing laughter from the crowd. "He pulled it together in a carefully worded, measured speech, which urged all to live up to Mandela's standards and values".