Former President Obama had some harsh words for dissatisfied citizens who didn’t vote

Former President Barack Obama isn't holding back on citizens who are complaining about current politicians but didn't vote, aren't involved and aren't speaking up, telling an audience, "You get the politicians you deserve."

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His strong statement came during a question and answer time during an appearance at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan, Italy, where he continued his post-presidency theme of calling for greater civic engagement.

“People have a tendency to blame politicians when things don’t work,” Obama said. “But as I always tell people, you get the politicians you deserve. And if you don’t vote and if you don’t participate and if you don’t pay attention, then you’ll get policies that don’t reflect your interests.”

>> RELATED: Former President Obama’s post-presidency vacation will end next week as he returns to public life with a series of events

Earlier this month, while talking to a group of students at the University of Chicago, he also talked about civic engagement.

"The most important thing I could do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton," Obama said.

He added: “What are the ways in which we can create pathways for them to take leadership for them to get involved? Are there ways in which we can knock down some of the barriers that are discouraging young people about a life of service?”

Although Obama has returned to the public eye following an extended post-White House vacation and is speaking out on a multitude of issues, he has purposely shied away from criticizing the current president, with former Obama aides saying that it would do little more than further encourage President Donald Trump's base.