White House

Obama speaks out in wake of Trump order on refugees

Reaction from Josh Lederman, foreign policy reporter for the Associated Press

 

Former President Obama’s office offered support Monday for protesters and said he “fundamentally disagrees" with discrimination that targets people based on their religion, in an apparent reference to his successor’s controversial executive order on immigration.

In the former president’s first official statement since leaving office, spokesman Kevin Lewis said: “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. … 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.”

He added, “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.”

The statement alluded to but did not specifically mention President Trump's temporary ban on refugees and temporary ban on entry for travelers and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries.

The White House says the ban isn't a Muslim ban because dozens of Muslim-majority countries aren't affected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.