Obama on Trump: How hard can it be to say 'Nazis are bad'?

Former President Obama tore into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE on Friday over what he said was his failure to stand up to Nazi sympathizers. 

In a fiery speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Obama directly took on Trump over one of the most controversial moments of his presidency, when he equivocated in offering blame for violence last summer between white supremacist and Nazis, and their opponents, last year in Charlottesville, Va.

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"We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them," Obama said. "We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers.

"How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad."

Trump drew intense criticism last year after he suggested that both neo-Nazis and counterprotesters were equally responsible for the violence that erupted at rally led by racist groups in Charlottesville.

Since leaving office last year, Obama has offered only occasional, veiled criticisms of Trump. His remarks on Friday marked the first time he went after the president by name.