Former President Obama delivers speech at University of IL

Former President Obama delivers speech at University of IL

Former President Obama delivers speech at University of IL

He said voters had a chance in November to restore "sanity to our politics".

"Because there is actually only one real check on bad policy and abuses of power, and that's you - you and your vote", he said.

Obama has made some appearances since Trump took office - including headlining a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee earlier this year - but the Trump era has complicated Obama's post-presidency. Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against communism, and now they're cozying up to the former head of the KGB.

The only thing they have to do, Obama said, is "show up". He said the biggest threat to democracy isn't Trump but "indifference".

"I'm sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep", he said. "I found he's very good".

The November elections have been seen as a referendum on Trump, who has fulfilled campaign promises to cut taxes and regulations but who faces a widening special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and growing questions about his fitness for office, even by some within his administration.

Up until this point, Obama has strayed away from directly attacking President Trump, but according to those with knowledge of the speech, it is expected to provide his most pointed rebuke to date of the current president.

He also criticized Trump's response to the violence a year ago at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of one person.

He called for "a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government".

"If you thought elections don't matter, I hope these past two years have corrected that impression", he said. It's one of the main reasons the Tea Party movement was born and why Republicans retook the House in historic action in 2010.

Republicans shrugged off Obama's criticism.

Obama remarked the United States needs to restore "honesty and decency" in government. "That is not how our democracy is supposed to work". "The idea that, 'Well, you know, there's racism in America, so I'm not going to bother voting, ' makes no sense". You didn't go out to vote.

Obama and Trump have not talked since the inauguration, a source tells CNN.

Next week, Obama plans to campaign in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Ohio Democrats.

The former president is following up his address by campaigning tomorrow with Democratic candidates running to flip Republican House seats in Southern California's Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning area where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats.

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