By IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(MILWAUKEE) — Former President Barack Obama took aim at his successor’s work in the White House during a passionate speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Speaking live from Philadelphia, Obama harshly criticized President Donald Trump for his policies and rhetoric during his time in office and warned voters that his administration would “tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes for them to win.” Obama noted that he hoped that Trump would show some interest in taking the job seriously, but he did not.
“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. No interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama said.
Obama’s scathing criticism of Trump breaks with the longstanding tradition of former presidents not publicly speaking out against their successors.
The 44th president pointed out the “consequences” of Trump’s failures: 170,000 Americans dead from COVID-19, millions of jobs lost and “our worst impulses unleashed.”
Obama touted former Vice President Joe Biden’s record, particularly with the 2009 H1N1 flu and 2014 Ebola outbreaks, and the economy. He also emphasized Biden’s empathy, particularly with military members.
He also praised Sen. Kamala Harris’ long career and said she, too, would help steer the country in the right direction.
“Joe and Kamala will restore our standing in the world,” he said.
Obama continued to take digs at the current administration and its attacks on voting rights and the free press. He urged voters to head to the polls.
“This president and those in power, those who benefit from keeping things the way they are, they are counting on your cynicism,” Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies, so they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote and to convince you that your vote does not matter. That is how they win.”
Trump fired back at Obama on Twitter repeating claims, in all caps, that Obama spied on him and was caught. Biden quote tweeted Trump, repeated Obama’s words, “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t.”
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.