'Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back'
Former US presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush have criticised the Trump administration for its divisive policies.
Obama, back on the campaign trail on Thursday for the first time since he left the White House, called on voters to reject a growing “politics of division” that he said was corroding American democracy, reports Reuters.
Without mentioning Republican President Donald Trump by name, Obama told campaign rallies in New Jersey and Virginia that voters could send a powerful message about the type of politics they want by backing Democrats in Nov 7 elections in the two states.
“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before, that dates back centuries,” Obama told a cheering crowd in Newark, New Jersey, that chanted: “Four more years.”
“Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back,” Obama said. “It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.”
“We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonise people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage. Sometimes that feels frustrating,” Obama said.
Many of Obama’s comments appeared to be thinly veiled swipes at Trump.
Obama made the remarks just hours after former President George W Bush, a Republican, also took an indirect swing at Trump with a speech decrying “bullying and prejudice” while defending immigrants and trade.
Bush decried “bullying and prejudice” while defending immigrants and trade on Thursday in a New York speech that appeared to be a sweeping, thinly veiled critique of President Donald Trump.
Bush, 71, used a rare public address to discuss nationalism, racial divisions and Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election, all flashpoints of his fellow Republican’s nine-month White House tenure. He did not mention Trump by name.
“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” Bush said at the Bush Institute’s National Forum on Freedom, Free Markets and Security.