'Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't': Obama tears into Trump and delivers a forceful endorsement of Biden in DNC speech

  • Former President Barack Obama delivered a forceful endorsement of his former vice president and the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, on the third night of the Democratic National Convention.
  • He sharply contrasted Biden's leadership style and qualities with those of President Donald Trump.
  • "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," Obama said.
  • Obama was one of several high-profile Democratic speakers who appeared at the 2020 DNC.
  • The convention also featured a number of prominent Republicans whose support for Biden showcased the deep divisions between the establishment and Trumpian wings of the Republican Party.
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Former President Barack Obama delivered a forceful endorsement of his former vice president and the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, on the third night of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday.

Obama delivered his remarks from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, choosing the location as a means of emphasizing the primary theme of his speech: America's democracy is in danger. 

Americans should expect the president to be a "custodian" of democracy, Obama said.

"At a minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us, regardless of what we look like, how we worship, who we love, how much money we have, or who we voted for. But we should also expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy," Obama said.

"We should expect that regardless of ego, ambition or political beliefs, the president will preserve, protect, and defend the freedoms and ideals that so many Americans marched for, went to jail for, fought for, and died for."

The former president sharply contrasted Biden's leadership style and qualities with those of President Donald Trump. Obama skewered Trump for his botched response to the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the disease has infected nearly 5.5 million Americans and killed more than 171,000.

Though Obama has largely stayed out of the limelight since leaving the White House and generally avoided criticizing Trump directly, he did not hold back on Wednesday night. 

"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," Obama said. "For close to four years now, he has 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."

 

The former president wrapped up his speech on Wednesday with a call to action, imploring Americans to vote and stay engaged in the democratic process. 

"You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place," Obama said. "You're the missing ingredient – the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed."

"We have to get busy building it up – by pouring all our effort into these 76 days, and by voting like never before – for Joe and Kamala, and candidates up and down the ticket, so that we leave no doubt about what this country that we love stands for," Obama said. 

Obama warned that the Trump administration has "shown it will tear our democracy down if that is what it takes for them to win."

 

Trump responded to Obama's speech with anger via Twitter.

"WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?" Trump tweeted.

Obama largely remained on the sidelines of the Democratic primary until it became clear that Biden would be the party's nominee. He formally endorsed the former vice president in April.

This year's DNC featured several themes that sought to bridge the ideological and generational divides between different factions of the Democratic Party. Keynote speakers included Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former acting attorney general Sally Yates.

Several Republicans also spoke or appeared at the convention, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman. Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, also lent her voice to a video tribute about the "unlikely friendship" between Biden and her husband.

Biden formally received the Democratic Party's presidential nomination on Tuesday night.

 

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