- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

The White House defended actress Meryl Streep’s criticism of President-elect Donald Trump Monday and said President Obama has been biting his tongue to keep from unleashing similar public barbs about the Republican.

While Mr. Obama has strong feelings about Mr. Trump, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, “he has to set aside those personal feelings.” He said Mr. Obama has “institutional responsibilities” to ensure a smooth transition which are preventing him from speaking freely about the president-elect.

Ms. Streep criticized Mr. Trump Sunday night at the Golden Globes award show, an annual Hollywood ritual.

Mr. Earnest said the actress was engaging in a “fairly straightforward exercise of her First Amendment right” to freedom of speech.

“She clearly was delivering a thoughtful, carefully considered message that she believes in deeply,” he said.

Mr. Obama, a favorite of Hollywood, awarded Ms. Streep with a presidential medal of freedom in 2014, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

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