Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address on values
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama today took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth.
While not mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, by name, Obama's speech in South Africa countered many of Trump's policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, diversity and tolerance.
Obama opened by calling today's times "strange and uncertain," adding that "each day's news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines." These days "we see much of the world threatening to return to a more dangerous, more brutal, way of doing business," he said.
He targeted politicians pushing "politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment," saying they are on the move "at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago."
He attacked "strongman politics," saying that "those in power seek to undermine every institution ... that gives democracy meaning."
Obama added: "I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts. Look around." He also spoke up for equality in all forms, saying that "I would have thought we had figured that out by now."
His words were met with cheers by a crowd of about 14,000 people gathered at a cricket stadium in Johannesburg for the speech, which was streamed online.