WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama took veiled shots at Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump while marking 150 years since the abolition of slavery. Obama said Wednesday that “we betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all of its forms,” in remarks celebrating the 150-year anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery throughout the entire country.
It was an indirect reference to Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner who has proposed banning all Muslims from traveling to the United States in the wake of terror attacks in Paris and California.
In another shot at Trump, Obama called on Americans “to remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others — regardless of what they looked like or where they come from or what their last name is or what faith they practice.”
His comments come the day after White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Trump’s anti-Muslim proposal should disqualify him from the presidential race. On Wednesday, Earnest said Obama’s remarks weren’t added to his speech specifically to rebuke Trump.
But, he said: “I’m not going to wave you off consideration of the idea that that message stands in quite stark contrast to the rhetoric we hear from a variety of Republican candidates for president.”