Barack Obama Attacks Donald Trump by Name for First Time: Top Quotes From University of Illinois Speech

Barack Obama delivered a stern rebuke to Republicans and President Donald Trump at the University of Illinois Friday afternoon, where he was billed to speak about the "state of our democracy" and the importance of voting in midterm elections. The former president warned students of what he called a serious problem within the Republican Party.

"Neither party has been exclusively responsible for us going backwards instead of forwards, but I have to say this because sometimes we hear 'a plague on both your houses,'" said Obama. "Over the past few decades the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party."

Obama fought back against a common Republican response to accusations of racism and prejudice: that they're the party of Lincoln. "I don't mean to pretend I'm channeling Abraham Lincoln, but that's not what he had in mind," he said. "I think, when he helped form the Republican Party. It's not conservative, it's radical. It's a vision that says the protection of our power and all who backed us is all that matters even when it hurts the country," Obama continued.

"We are Americans, we're supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them. We're supposed to stand up to discrimination and we're supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazi's are bad," he said, referring to President Donald Trump's infamous "good people on both sides" comment following the Nazi marches in Charlottesville, Virginia which resulted in one death and numerous injuries.

Obama has made covert criticisms of his successor in the past, but none as outright as he did today. "Demagogues promise simple fixes to complex problems. They'll promise to fight for the little guy even as they cater to the wealthiest and most powerful," he said. "They'll promise to clean up corruption and then plunder away. They start undermining norms that ensure accountability and try to change the rules to entrench their power further. They appeal to racial nationalism that's barely veiled, if veiled at all. Sound familiar?"

He also had harsh words for the Congressional Republicans who he said failed to keep the president in check. "It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents, or to explicitly call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up," he said.

He scolded the "Republicans who know better in Congress [but] are still bending over backwards to shield this behavior from scrutiny or accountability." These Republicans "seem unwilling to find the backbone to safeguard the institutions that make our democracy work," he continued.

Finally, Obama commented on the anonymous senior White House official who wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times ensuring that there were insiders attempting to keep the president in check. "The claim that everything will turn out ok because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren't following the president's orders, that is not a check," he said.

Barack Obama Attacks Donald Trump by Name for First Time: Top Quotes From University of Illinois Speech | U.S.