Barack Obama appeared virtually from Philadelphia for the third night of the Democratic National Convention. The former president endorsed Joe Biden — who was formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate on Wednesday (Aug. 19) — while issuing a searing rebuke of current POTUS Donald Trump.
“I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president,” Obama said during his address. “I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did.”
“For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” he continued. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe.”
Elsewhere in his speech, Obama pointed to Trump’s handling of Black Lives Matter protests in Portland and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Commander-in-Chief does not use the men and women of our military, who are willing to risk everything to protect our nation, as political props to deploy against peaceful protesters on our own soil,” he said. “They understand that political opponents aren’t ‘un-American’ just because they disagree with you; the free press isn’t the ‘enemy’ but the way we hold officials accountable; that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depend on a fidelity to facts and science and logic and not just making stuff up.”
While speaking about Joe Biden, his former vice president, Obama praised his “empathy,” “decency” and “the belief that everybody counts.”
“Joe and I came from different places and different generations. But what I quickly came to admire about Joe Biden is his resilience, born of too much struggle; his empathy, born of too much grief,” Obama said. “Joe’s a man who learned – early on – to treat every person he meets with respect and dignity…”
Last night (Aug. 19), Kamala Harris made history as the first Black and South Asian woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination after she was formally announced as Biden’s running mate.
“In my friend Kamala Harris, [Biden has] chosen an ideal partner who’s more than prepared for the job,” Obama said of Harris. “Someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers and who’s made a career fighting to help others live out their own American dream.”
See a clip from Obama’s speech below.