The 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama has, for some time now, not been missing out on opportunities to take a jab at the current president, Donald Trump.
On Wednesday night, as he was receiving the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award in a ceremony in Manhattan, the 57-year-old took a swipe at his political rival.
The award celebrates leaders “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change” and it was presented by the organization’s president, Kerry
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Media reports state that even though the former U.S. leader’s speech did not deviate from the theme of the occasion, his words seem to throw a few jabs at the current leader.
Specifically, Obama told the audience to be hopeful in the midst of the present political situation and not succumb to leaders “making up whatever facts they want”.
“When our leaders are content on making up whatever facts they want, a lot of people have begun to doubt the notion of common ground,” he said, referring to what many have described as Trump’s continued claims of “fake news.”
“Bobby Kennedy’s life reminds us to reject such cynicism.”
“If we summon our best selves, we can inspire others to do the same,” he said. “It’s easy to succumb to cynicism, the notion that hope is a fool’s game.”
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve been on this hope kick for a while now,” “Even ran a couple of campaigns on it,” he added.
Obama further touched on climate change – another jab at Trump who has often rejected warnings on climate change.
“Climate change is one of the most formidable tests that humanity has ever faced.”
“But for all the climate deniers, for all the fingers in the ears, all the heads foolishly plunged into the sand, right now you have global investment in renewable energy…you have activists in the most remote corners of the world saving rainforests,” Obama said.
These past months, Obama has heavily criticized the Trump administration over issues such as the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the US election and other corruption matters.
Ten years ago, on November 4, 2008, Obama became the first African-American to be elected as president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.
His victory speech made clear that while his win signalled a change in America, much remains to be done in terms of the core issues that faced the country at the time – among them the economy, and the Iraq War.
Despite some challenges he faced with the U.S. economy, he accomplished many great things by the time his term ended in January 2017, after securing a second term in 2012
He now joins a list of other RFK awardees such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bono, George Clooney and Robert De Niro who have contributed to a “more just and peaceful world.”
Listen to excerpts of his speech below: