Barack Obama is "heartened" by ongoing protests in response to Trump's Muslim ban. Just 10 days after leaving the White House, the former president issued a statement via his spokesperson expressing support for those exercising their right to assembly while decrying Republican claims that the ban is similar to his own "refugee application slowdown" in 2011.
"President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country," Monday's statement from Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis said. "In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy—not just during an election but every day."
As for those aforementioned comparisons, Obama isn't having any of that. In fact, Obama "fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion." Here's the full statement:
Trump himself made the comparison in a Facebook statement Sunday, claiming the ban was "not about religion" and that he had "tremendous feeling" for those affected by the crisis in Syria. That comparison, however, is misleading. As the New York Daily News Dan Good points out, Obama's 2011 measure was not a full travel ban. Instead, a "refugee application slowdown" was initiated during a Kentucky case centered on two alleged terrorists from Iraq. The measure did not apply to tourists or immigrants.