Protests over the election of Donald Trump have erupted in cities across the nation and President Barack Obama said he won't discourage the protesters.
“I’ve been the subject of protests during the course of my eight years,” Obama said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Politico. “And I suspect that there’s not a president in our history that hasn’t been subject to these protests. So, I would not advise people who feel strongly or who are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign, I wouldn’t advise them to be silent.”
Obama added that free speech is a hallmark of a free country and protesters should be allowed to express their views.
“I can say across Europe that many principles that have been taken for granted here around free speech and around civil liberties and an independent judiciary and fighting corruption — those are principles that, you know, not perfectly but generally we have tried to apply not just in our own country but also with respect to our foreign policy,” Obama said.
When protests first started up after the election, Trump criticized the protesters via his Twitter account.
“Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Trump tweeted on Nov. 10.
But hours later, Trump changed his tune and actually praised the protesters.
“Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country,” Trump tweeted. “We will all come together and be proud!”