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Obama Issues Statement in Response to Trump’s Refugee Ban, Protests

Variety logo Variety 1/30/2017 Ted Johnson
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Former President Barack Obama, in his first statement since leaving office, issued a statement through his spokesman expressing support for protesters as “exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

His spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said that Obama “is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans have a responsibility to be guardians of our democracy — not just during an election but every day.

“Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize, and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Obama had signaled at his final press conference that he would not remain silent about speaking out on a number of issues. Since he left office, there have been widespread protests including the Women’s March on Jan. 21 and, last weekend, demonstrations at major airports over President Trump’s executive order restricting refugees as well as visits from seven Muslim-majority countries until new vetting procedures are established.

“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” his spokesman said.

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