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Obama backs protests erupting in response to Trump policies

In a first statement since leaving the White House, former President Obama’s office released a statement Monday responding to protests that have erupted across the country in reaction to President Trump.

“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” said Kevin Lewis, Obama’s new spokesman. “Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Lewis added that Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

He noted that in Obama’s farewell address to the nation earlier this month, he spoke about “the important role of citizen” not just on Election Day, but every day.

The statement comes amid strong backlash to Mr. Trump’s new policy that has blocked all travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries -- Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Libya -- for at least 90 days.

It resulted in more than 100 people being detained at U.S. airports over the weekend. The policy, as part of an executive order he signed Friday, also included the suspension of the U.S. refugee program for Syrian nationals for 120 days.

After Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Obama and the rest of his family left for Palm Springs, California for vacation. The former president and former first lady, Michelle Obama, will live in Washington, D.C. until at least their younger daughter Sasha graduates from high school. 

CBS News’ Arden Farhi contributed to this report.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.