- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2017

Former President Barack Obama’s promise to stay out of President Trump’s hair lasted all of 10 days.

Responding to President Trump’s order suspending migration from seven Muslim-majority nations, a spokesman for the former president said Monday that Mr. Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

The statement by Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis also was in response to Mr. Trump and his aides comparing the action to a proposal by Mr. Obama in 2011 to restrict immigration from Iraq.

Mr. Lewis said Mr. Obama is “heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country” a day after protests in several cities over Mr. Trump’s temporary suspension of migrants.

“Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake,” Mr. Lewis said.

Before leaving office Mr. Obama said he intended to stay out of Mr. Trump’s way, barring extraordinary circumstances.


SEE ALSO: Congress asks for travel-ban waiver to let Iraqi translators into U.S.


“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance,” Mr. Obama said.

He added, “As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it is necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, I’ll examine it when it comes.”

With his first public comments since leaving office, Mr. Obama thus broke with an unwritten rule that former presidents resist criticizing the current commander in chief.

Trump advisers say the president’s move was based partly on Mr. Obama’s decision to ban Iraqis in 2011 after two Iraqis trying to come to the U.S. were linked to terrorist activity.

Former Obama officials deny that such a program was formally adopted, although vetting of Iraqi immigrants was expanded.

Mr. Trump’s order, issued Friday, temporarily bans immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It halts indefinitely Syrian refugees from coming to the U.S.

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