President Barack Obama was describing the “politics of division and resentment” inside the Republican Party Friday in an Illinois speech when he brought up the Democratic Party’s history with racism.
At a speech at the University of Illinois, Obama criticized the Trump administration and outlined the alternative Democratic plan for the country. During one aside, Obama said, “Now, understand, this is not just a matter of Democrats versus Republicans, or liberals versus conservatives. At various times in our history, this kind of politics has infected both parties.”
Obama then launched into detailing the racist past of the Democratic Party.
“Southern Democrats were the bigger defenders of slavery,” Obama said, “It took a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, to end it. Dixiecrats filibustered anti-lynching legislation, opposed the idea of expanding civil rights.”
The audience continued to listen in silence. “Although it was a Democratic president and a majority Democrat Congress — spurred on by young marchers and protesters — that got the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act over the finish line, those historic laws also got passed because of the leadership of Republicans, like Illinois’s own Everett Dirksen.”
“So neither party has had a monopoly on wisdom,” Obama said, “Neither party has been exclusively responsible for us going backwards instead of forwards.”
Obama concluded his point by saying, “Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.”