Obama warns against ‘strongman politics’ after Trump news conference


Former U.S. President Barack Obama, left, delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson ...
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, left, delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Photo/CNN

In Summary

  • Some of Obama’s words echoed that of Trump’s critics.
  • Obama said there were far-right parties in the West that have a “barely hidden racial nationalism”.
  • On Monday, Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Barack Obama has said the world should resist cynicism over the rise of strongmen, in an apparent reference to populist leaders who hold power in a number of countries.

The former U.S. president did not name his successor, Donald Trump, but the speech was among the most pointed comments he has made about politics since leaving office in January 2017.

Also Read: Obama’s full speech about the ‘politics of fear and resentment’

“Just as people spoke about the triumph of democracy in the 90s, people now are talking about the triumph of tribalism and the strong man. But we need to resist that cynicism,” Obama said.

He was giving a speech in Johannesburg on Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

Some of Obama’s words echoed that of Trump’s critics.

“Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up.

“We see it in the growth of state-sponsored propaganda, we see it in internet-driven fabrications, in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment,” Obama said.

“We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders, where they are caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more,” he said.

Obama said there were far-right parties in the West that have platforms of protectionism and closed borders but also a “barely hidden racial nationalism”.

Since leaving the White House, Obama has largely avoided direct involvement in U.S. politics and has refrained from criticizing Trump. Some Democrats say he should play a more direct role.

On Monday, Trump sided with President Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The move cast doubt on the findings of his own U.S. intelligence agencies and sparking a storm of criticism at home.

During his speech, given in a stadium to thousands of politicians, businesspeople and students, Obama lauded Mandela’s life of sacrifice and commitment to social justice.

Mandela, a giant of the struggle against apartheid who served as South Africa’s president from 1994 to 1999, died in 2013 aged 95.

Obama, who also visited Kenya this week, also praised South Africa’s current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he had instilled “new hope” among South Africans.

 

For Citizen TV updates
Join @citizentvke Telegram channel



Video Of The Day: SPECIAL REPORT | Who killed Mumias Sugar?

Story By Reuters
More by this author