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Former President Barack Obama took sharp criticicsm over the weekend for slamming “phony culture wars” while speaking in Virginia, where a very real headline-inducing culture war has been taking place in recent weeks.
Obama made the controversial comment on Saturday during a rally for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, irking conservatives for his apparent dismissal of parental concerns about schools.
“We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped-up culture wars,” Obama said at Virginia Commonwealth University before targeting Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.
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“This fake outrage that right-wing media pedals to juice their ratings, and the fact that he’s willing to go along with it instead of talking about serious problems that actually affect serious people? That’s a shame,” Obama said. “That’s not what this election’s about. That’s not what you need, Virginia.”
The comment quickly drew backlash on social media:
“Right? All those right wing media people who walked out of Netflix are jerks! The right wing nuts who went after In The Heights for colonialism, too,” writer Caleb Howe snarked. “Oh and don’t forget the right wing media mob that came for J.K. Rowling, Cracker Barrel, Grease, Mandalorian, Christmas music.”
Senior advisor to former President Trump Stephen Miller wrote, “The McAuliffe campaign’s closing pitch: Virginia parents are liars who don’t really mind having their children indoctrinated with toxic marxism, racist CRT or radical woke ideology.”
“He’s friends with Dave Chappelle and has a multimillion dollar deal with Netflix. That cycle was not right wing media. He knows he’s full of s—t,” Tablet’s Noam Blum responded.
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Many critics evoked the situation in Loudoun County, Virginia, where Youngkin has called for the resignations of superintendent Scott Ziegler and the school board in the wake of a bombshell email that he said reveals an alleged sexual assault was covered up.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted, “That rapes of young girls on school property in Virginia were covered up by school officials should bother everyone—but Obama calls it ‘fake outrage.’”
The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech added, “Barack Obama is fine with girls being raped in school bathrooms. Parents complaining about it is the problem.”
“Didn’t know the rape of a freshman girl in her high school bathroom was ‘trumped up fake outrage,’” Dana Loesch responded.
“The Loudoun County school board in Virginia, the state where Obama is campaigning, covered up the rape of two female students because the suspect identifies as ‘gender fluid,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong wrote. “The parents are rightly outraged. Obama dismisses this outrage as ‘phony.’”
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Podcast host Gerry Callahan added, “Yeah, imagine being outraged by the rape of two children on school grounds and the subsequent lies and coverup by the superintendent and school board. Just so phony.”
“Meanwhile, Obama’s TV ad for McAuliffe just came on during Sunday Night Football and literally the only issues he mentioned were abortion and climate change,” digital strategist Greg Price wrote. “But it’s the right that’s obsessed with culture wars when they get angry after children are raped in school bathrooms.”
Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.