WASHINGTON– President Barack Obama is wishing the nation a Happy Thanksgiving.
In his weekly radio address, the president said that after a “sometimes divisive campaign season,” it’s never been more important to spend today with friends and family, “give thanks for each other, and for all that God has given us” and to “reflect on what truly binds us as Americans.”
He says that “no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves.”
Obama said what makes us American is “not where we come from, what we look like, or what faith we practice,” but “the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance.”
He also thanked those in the military who he says defend our freedom “in every corner of the world.”
In the Republicans’ weekly address, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia said “Thanksgiving dinner discussions may be a little more spirited this year” after the long campaign. But he said, “we can be proud to live in a nation where we are free to voice our differences passionately, and resolve them peacefully.”
“As a country, we’ve just emerged from a noisy, passionate, and sometimes divisive campaign season,” Obama said in his weekly address. “After all, elections are often where we emphasize what sets us apart. We face off in a contest of ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ We focus on the candidate we support instead of some of the ideals we share … But a few short weeks later, Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves.”
For his part, President-elect Donald Trump, in his holiday message released yesterday, called for national unity as well and he vowed to bring the country together in common purpose.
But the wounds from the election are still fresh and liberal leaders are seeking recounts of the vote in three states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and some Democratic members of the Electoral College also have launched a last-ditch attempt to block Trump.
Protests have peppered the nation since the election amid reports hate crimes have spiked. A gathering of white nationalists and self-described “alt-right” leaders celebrating Trump’s victory last weekend turned violent as protesters clashed with them and some supporters gave the Nazi salute.
Obama hinted at the racial strife in his message Thursday.
“Never doubt, that is what makes us American — not where we come from, what we look like, or what faith we practice, but the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance. It’s about our capacity to live up to the creed as old as our founding: “E Pluribus Unum” – that out of many, we are one,” he said.
In a Thursday afternoon tweet, the President emphasized a unifying message.
“This Thanksgiving, we give thanks for our blessings, and work to fulfill the timeless responsibility we have as Americans to serve others.”