WATCH: Obama blasts Trumpcare and urges lawmakers to oppose it in ‘Profile in Courage’ award speech
Former President Barack Obama accepted the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” award on Sunday night in Boston and delivered remarks on the merits of “political courage” — when elected officials do the right thing in spite of how unpopular it might make them.
“I’ve been thinking on this notion on political courage this weekend, in particular about some of the men and women who were elected to Congress the year I was elected to the White House,” Obama said, according to The Hill. “Many of theme were new to Washington, had their entire careers ahead of them and in that very first term they had to take tough vote after tough vote because we were in crisis.”
He continued, “And then found themselves in the midst of a great debate — a debate that had been going on for decades … a debate about whether a nation as wealthy as the United States of America would finally make health care not a privilege, but a right for all Americans.”
“These men and women did the right thing, they did the hard thing,” when they voted for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama said. “Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn’t have it, and most of [those lawmakers] did lose their seats.”
Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Obama said that he hopes today’s elected officials will have the courage to do the right thing, even if it means swimming against the tide.
“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful … but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm and those who often have no access to the corridors of power,” he said.
“I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient, but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right.”
Watch the full speech, embedded below: