Former United States President Barack Obama on Thursday hit out at his successor Donald Trump for disregarding the legacy of African-American civil rights leader John Lewis by undermining the voting rights of the people, Reuters reported. Lewis died on July 17.
Obama’s attack on the president came on the same day Trump suggested postponing the 2020 US presidential elections, citing concerns of fraudulent voting. Trump has often criticised mail-in voting, or postal voting, in the past but hasn’t provided any evidence of fraudulent practices in the method.
The former US president attacked Trump for his attempts to suppress minority votes. “Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick,” Obama at Lewis’ funeral.
Obama also criticised Trump for deploying federal agents to suppress anti-racism protests. “Today we witness with our own eyes, police officers kneeling on the necks of black Americans,” Obama said, according to AFP. “We can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.”
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Massive protests had erupted in the US in May over the murder of an African-American man named George Floyd. Four police officials had detained Floyd on May 25 after he had allegedly used a counterfeit bill at a store in Minnesota. A video showed a police officer kneeling for almost nine minutes on Floyd’s neck. Floyd was seen gasping for breath, pleading with the officials saying, “I can’t breathe”. He died on the spot. Rayshard Brooks, another African-American man was shot dead outside a restaurant in June.