Obama, The President Who Said He Had A ‘Pen And Phone,’ Warns Of Appeal Of Authoritarianism

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Former President Barack Obama warned against the temptation of “authoritarianism” in a Montreal speech Tuesday.

Despite the former president’s 275 executive orders and 644 presidential memoranda, Obama argued that the American public shouldn’t look for control and certainty in the world before reminding his listeners that history proves there is a better path.

“In periods like this, people looking for control and certainty — it’s inevitable,” Obama told the Canadian audience in a thinly-veiled warning about President Donald Trump. “But it is important to remember that the world has gone through similar moments … Our history also shows there is a better way.”

Obama then lectured on the need to ignore the “call for isolation and nationalism,” or anyone who “suggests rolling back the rights of others.”

Obama’s Tuesday comments differ from a 2014 statement he made while still in office when he pledged to circumvent the 435 representatives and 100 senators who were elected to office to pass laws.

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation,” Obama announced in January 2014. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone…and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions.”


Then-president Obama signed a series of executive orders that greatly increased the government’s role in the day-to-day business of the American people afterward. One order mandated a higher “living wage” for anyone working with a government paid contractor and changed the export/import process for American-owned businesses.

The former president also authorized military action in Libya in 2011 and appointed several high-profile White House officials with no congressional oversight, according to Reason.

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