Lashing out indirectly at presidential hopeful Donald Trump, US President Barack Obama criticised the populist campaign for “anti-intellectualism” and bigotry.
While Mr Obama did not specifically address Mr Trump during his remarks at Rutgers University’s graduation ceremony in New Jersey on May 15, it was clear that he was referring to Mr Trump who is running on the slogan “Make America Great Again!”
The Democrat President told students not to aspire for an American golden age of the past. He said, “The good old days were not all that good”, pointing out issues such as racial discrimination, poverty and lack of equality for women, which he said were much more rampant in the past.
“The world is more interconnected than ever before and it is becoming more connected every day. Building walls won’t change things”, Mr Obama added. He was taking a dig at Mr Trump’s calls for a wall along the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants out. Mr Obama also said that no wall could stop outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, or help the US remain competitive in a time of globalisation.
“Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders and blame our challenges on immigrants, that does not just run counter to our history as the world melting pot”, he Obama said. “It contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe”, he added.
Denouncing politicians who hold themselves up as examples of straight-talkers but shun political correctness, Mr Obama criticised Mr Trump saying that “ignorance is not a virtue”.
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