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The Cable

Obama Takes Veiled Swipe at Trump’s Plan to Bar Muslims

President Obama takes a veiled but clear swipe at Donald Trump's plan to keep foreign Muslims out of America.


President Barack Obama has joined the growing bipartisan chorus condemning Donald Trump’s plan to block foreign Muslims from entering the United States until “our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Speaking Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol at an event marking the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, the president said, “We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms.” He then called on Americans to “hold fast to our values.”

“All it requires is that our generation be willing to do what those who came before us have done: to rise above the cynicism and rise above the fear,” Obama said. “To remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others, regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, or what their last name is, or what faith they practice.”

The faith line is a veiled but clear shot at Trump, who continued to call for the ban despite backlash to the idea from Democrats, Republicans, and international leaders, who now include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Trump is set to visit Israel at the end of the month.

At a press briefing Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest didn’t deny the comments were directed at Trump. Obama’s speech “stands in stark contrast to message from a variety of Republican presidential candidates,” Earnest said.  

Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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