President Barack Obama, during his visit to Greece, issued a warning about “crude nationalism” following Donald Trump’s Election Day victory.
He said, “We are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an ‘us’ and a ‘them.'”
“We know what happens when Europeans start dividing themselves up…the 20th century was a bloodbath,” Obama continued. “You’ve seen some of the rhetoric among Republican elected officials and activists and media. Some of it pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts, but being used effectively to mobilize people,” Obama said alongside Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, according to CNN.
“And obviously, President-elect Trump tapped into that particular strain within the Republican Party and then was able to broaden that enough and get enough votes to win the election.”
Obama seemingly tried to warn against returning to decades-old forms of bigotry.
“In the United States, we know what happens when we start dividing ourselves along lines of race or religion or ethnicity. It’s dangerous,” Obama said. “Not just for the minority groups that are subjected to that kind of discrimination or, in some cases in the past violence, but because we don’t then realize our potential as a country when we’re preventing blacks or Latinos or Asians or gays or women from fully participating in the project of building American life.”
Obama was asked about whether he believes Trump’s victory or the Brexit movement are related. He said that it was a sign people’s lives have been disrupted by dislocation, globalization, and inequality. He also believed Americans voted for Trump because they were ready for a change in the state of politics in Washington, D.C.
“Globalization combined with technology combined with social media and constant information have disrupted people’s lives, sometimes in very concrete ways,” Obama said, reported the New York Times. “A manufacturing plant closes, and suddenly an entire town no longer has what was the primary source of employment.”
“When you see a Donald Trump and a Bernie Sanders, very unconventional candidates, having considerable success, then obviously there is something there that is being tapped into,” Obama added. “A suspicion of globalization. A desire to rein in its excesses.”