Barack Obama isn’t pulling his punches. In a searing public speech at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the former president spoke out against everything from Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with Putin to the state of police violence.
He made special mention of the anonymous New York Times op-ed contributor, identified only as a senior Trump administration official, whom many have praised as a beacon of hope.
This is not the case, Obama said: “The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders, that is not a check.”
In the Times essay, the writer described their general support for the administration, and for the policies that they said had “already made America safer and more prosperous.” Instead, they wrote, they were invested only in stopping Trump’s “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions.”
“That’s not how our democracy’s supposed to work,” Obama said. “[These people are] not doing us a service by actively promoting 90% of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House, and then saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10%.'”
Obama characterized the present political climate as extraordinary and dangerous—and urged prospective voters to put a stop to it in the midterm elections in November.