In the wake of his election win, President Barack Obama issued a statement of support for free speech, noting that the First Amendment “allows for all the other protections we all enjoy.”
“The First Amendment protects the right of people to speak their minds, to express themselves without fear of reprisal, and to hold politicians accountable for their words and deeds,” Obama said in the statement.
“And it does so in ways that allow us to hold those who would silence us accountable for what they say.”
But the president’s statement did not go quite as far as it needed to go.
The president’s endorsement of free speech does not mean that he supports the actions of free-speech activists, as the administration and some of his political allies have claimed, nor does it mean that the president supports their actions.
“I do not support their actions,” Obama continued, “and they should not be rewarded with the kind of support they have received from the White House.”
The White House said the president has long “supported and defended free speech” and that his endorsement of the First Amendments was simply a response to criticism of the administration’s crackdown on the so-called alt-right movement.
“As a citizen of the United States, the president is entitled to express his opinions on any subject, regardless of how controversial or controversial the subject is,” the White and Black Athlete Foundation said in a statement to ABC News.
“Free speech is not a matter of right or wrong.”
Obama has also criticized the alt-left and the alt right for a variety of reasons, including a tweet in which he referred to one of them as a “movement for the destruction of America.”
But in the months since his election victory, some have accused the president of tacitly endorsing the alt left’s message, or of ignoring it entirely.
In the wake, some of the president�s closest advisers have also criticized him for his position, including former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, who wrote in a column for The Washington Post that Obama should be “more concerned about the alt leftists” than he is about “those who support the alt leftist agenda.”
“It is important that the President take a more serious look at the alt Left,” Donilon wrote.
“They are a movement for the total destruction of the West.”
He added that “the alt Left is a threat to American values.”
As the president was making his endorsement speech on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a similar message, but this time the president specifically called out alt-Left groups.
“The alt Left has been given an enormous platform in the media and on the political stage, and the American people deserve to know who they are and what they are doing,” Trump wrote.
The alt-Right is a loosely organized and largely anonymous online community of white nationalists, libertarians and other far-right extremists.
The movement’s main goal is to promote an anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-‘globalist’ vision of the future.
In 2014, the alt Right was a key driver behind the protests that toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, but the movement’s ideology has been criticized by many on the left for its overt racism and anti-Semitism.
Trump’s endorsement in the wake for the alt White House has been met with criticism from some on the far left as a betrayal of their values.