Speaking at the State of the Union, U.S. President Barack Obama condemned targeting people based on religion and race and urged Americans to listen to voices that help them see themselves “as Americans first.”
Barack Obama subtly slammed presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim discourse and urged Americans “to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.” The U.S. President said on Tuesday before a joint session of Congress that the world respects the United States and its citizens “not just” for its arsenal, but also for its diversity and openness and the way they respect every faith.
Obama cited Pope Francis, who addressed Congress in 2015 by reminding his audience that “to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.” He added that “when politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer […] It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”
Donald Trump responded to Obama’s subtle criticism through a stingy tweet: “The #SOTU speech is really boring, slow, lethargic –very hard to watch!” Republican U.S. presidential candidate Rand Paul was unimpressed with Obama’s speech either. “I just yelled, ‘you lie’ really loud. Good thing I’m not there,” Paul tweeted.