Following a fiery appearance in his home state of IL, former President Barack Obama brought a softer tone Saturday to Orange County, California - a traditional GOP stronghold.
Today former President Obama gave a speech to students at the University of IL where he slammed President Trump, argued Republicans have lost their way and urged young people to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
Last month, Obama released a first round of endorsements - 81 candidates up and down the ballot - and there will be a second round of endorsements and additional campaign activity in advance of the midterms, according to his office.
Obama said the USA needs to restore "honesty and decency" in government.
"Just a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different", Obama said.
Obama's remarks signaled he would not pull any punches in taking on Trump, who Obama has studiously avoided attacking by name after handing him the keys to the presidency in January of 2017.
Then-President Barack Obama meets with Donald Trump in the Oval Office after he was elected in November 2016. "That is not how our democracy is supposed to work".
Lamenting the current political climate, Obama said that Trump was a "symptom, not a cause".
Trump aides were allegedly concerned about the effect Obama's speech would have on President Trump, with Politico reporting there are fears from the Trump camp that Obama would get inside the president's head ahead of midterm elections. In one of the speech's more timely soundbites, Obama blasted his successor's fierce and frequent attacks on the press.
"I wish he would come more often because he reminds Republicans of eight years of misery", said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel.
President Trump pretended to be unmoved, saying, "I watched it but I fell asleep".
After his vitriolic condemnation of Trump, Obama offered a solution: Vote Democrat.
Politico reports that insiders claim Trump "has long complained about the fawning coverage and adulation that he believes Obama has received, even after leaving the White House", which has been exacerbated by the president's dismay at the fawning coverage given to the late Sen. He says the country is at a pivotal moment in its history and "the consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire" than in prior elections. He also will campaign this month in IL and Pennsylvania and will headline a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in New York City.
But Pirro and other Trump supporters immediately slammed the speech.
Obama was in IL to accept an award for ethics in government from the University of IL.
Obama has spent much of 2018 away from the political fray, focusing on writing his book and raising money for his post-presidency foundation.
On Saturday, Obama didn't mention Trump once and, instead, told Democrats that the problems in Washington are bigger than one person.
For the start of his support tour, Mr. Obama chose a part of the nation, Orange County, rich in political symbolism.