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Former President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia.
Former President Barack Obama in Philadelphia in 2022.Patrick Semansky / AP file

Obama calls out Haley, Scott over downplaying racial inequality

The two Republican presidential candidates fired back at Obama on Twitter, saying Obama's narrative paints people of color as "victims."


Former President Barack Obama spoke out Thursday in a podcast interview about GOP presidential contenders Tim Scott and Nikki Haley, saying the way they hold up their life stories on the campaign trail falls short on acknowledging racial inequality.  

Obama, the nation’s first Black president, said on former adviser David Axelrod’s CNN podcast that people can be “rightly skeptical” when a Republican “who may even be sincere in saying, ‘I want us all to live together,’ doesn’t have a plan for crippling generational poverty that is a consequence of hundreds of years of racism in the society.”  

Candidates running on “rhetoric of ‘can’t we all get along’” should also address an “honest accounting of our past and present,” Obama continued. He further touched on the subject of discrimination which he added plays a role in everything from “getting a job to buying a house…to how the criminal justice system operates.”

“There may come a time where there’s somebody in the Republican Party that is more serious about actually addressing some of the deep inequality that still exists in our society, that tracks race and is a consequence of our racial history. And if that happens, I think that would be fantastic,” Obama said.  

“I haven’t yet seen it,” he finished. 

Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, fired back at Obama in a tweet late Thursday night stating, “Let us not forget we are a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. Democrats deny our progress to protect their power. The Left wants you to believe faith in America is a fraud and progress in our nation is a myth. The truth of MY life disproves the lies of the radical Left."

The tweet continued: “We live in a country where little Black and Brown boys and girls can be President of the United States. The truth is — we’ve had one and the good news is — we will have another.”

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina who served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, issued her own tweet Friday morning: “@BarackObama set minorities back by singling them out as victims instead of empowering them.”

Haley added that her parents didn’t raise her “to think that I would forever be a victim. They raised me to know that I was responsible for my success.”