- Obama is hitting the campaign trail for Democrats for the first time since leaving office.
- He’s made vague references to Trump, but isn’t expected to strongly single him out.
- “What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries,” he said.
Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Thursday for the first time since leaving office and took a vague swipe at the political climate cultivated by President Donald Trump.
Campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy in New Jersey, the former president — who has largely avoided criticising Trump in person — lamented the backwards trajectory of the US on political issues.
“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries,” Obama said.
He continued: “Some of the things we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.”
Thursday marks Obama’s first major public political appearance since leaving office.
The former president is set to campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday evening in what’s shaping up to be a tighter race than some Democrats privately anticipated.
Despite a clear appetite for the former president among Democratic voters, Obama’s advisers have said that the former president is not expected to take strong stances against Trump, focusing instead on identifying and supporting voices of the next generation of Democratic leaders behind-the-scenes.
As he took the stage at the event, the crowd chanted “four more years.”
“I will refer you both to the Constitution as well as to Michelle Obama to explain why that will not happen,” he said.
Watch the clip via ABC:
Former President Barack Obama: “Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back.” pic.twitter.com/kItMlBifw0
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) October 19, 2017
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.