For once this week, the name Donald Trump didn’t come up. But it was clear who President Obama was talking about.
Advancing the country’s ideals, he said Wednesday, requires 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,” he said, speaking slowly and clearly, “or what faith they practice.”
The president’s remarks—during an event in the Capitol commemorating the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States—didn’t get into specifics. But his overt emphasis on using the lessons of the past to guide the country’s actions today made it apparent he was rebuking Donald Trump, who on Monday unveiled a plan that would ban all Muslims from entering the United States “until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” Though the proposal has been roundly lambasted, the growing tide of anti-Muslim sentiment around the country—epitomized most recently by the pig’s head that was left Monday at the door of a Philadelphia mosque—has caused the White House and others concern.
That was clear in his speech, as Obama called on the American public not to succumb to cynicism and fear.