Former President Barack Obama took a thinly veiled swipe at President Trump in Indonesia Saturday, sounding the alarm about “an aggressive kind of nationalism” and grumbling about the U.S. exit from the Paris climate agreement.
Obama, in a trip to his childhood home of Jakarta where he lived for four years as a boy, did not mention Trump by name but pushed back against those movements that put the national interest first.
“We start seeing a rise in sectarian politics, we start seeing a rise in an aggressive kind of nationalism, we start seeing both in developed and developing countries an increased resentment about minority groups and the bad treatment of people who don’t look like us or practice the same faith as us,” he said according to the Hill.
Former presidents typically do not wade into politics so quickly after they leave office, and usually stay out of the limelight so as not to step on the feet of their successor. President George W. Bush most notably went dark until well into Obama’s presidency — despite Obama frequently putting the blame of a sluggish economy at Bush’s feet. But this is the latest of a number of instances in which Obama has sought to place his footprint on the American political debate.
Obama also warned that without tolerance and respect for others, then progress will dwindle in politics.
“What we will see is more and more people arguing against democracy, we will see more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we’ll see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence,” he said.
According to the Hill, Obama also blasted “the temporary absence of American leadership” on climate change — a reference to the Paris climate agreement, to which Obama submitted the U.S. Trump announced last month that the U.S. would quit the deal, triggering howls of horror from liberals worldwide.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” he told the audience.
Earlier that day, Obama was asked about the climate deal and appeared to suggest that America may not leave the controversial climate deal after all, and bragged about how he “locked in” certain rules.
“First of all, I think it’s important that even though the current U.S. administration has signaled it is going to pull out, technically it’s not out yet,” he said, according to the Guardian. “Point two is that many of the changes that we locked in during my administration continue.”