PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Former President Barack Obama was in Philadelphia on Wednesday night for his prime-time address on the third night of the Democratic National Convention. He didn’t mince words and delivered his harshest critique of President Donald Trump since leaving office.
Standing next to an oversized image of the U.S. Constitution at the Museum of the American Revolution, the former president spoke for nearly 20 minutes about the stakes of the upcoming election and his belief that the Trump presidency is a threat to American democracy.
“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 me 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’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 said the consequences of the president’s inability to “grow into the job” have been the 170,000 coronavirus-related deaths, millions of jobs lost, a damaged reputation around the world and “our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”
Obama also referred to one of the more infamous moments of Trump’s term: the tear-gassing of protesters in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., in June.
“(Biden and Harris) understand that, in this democracy, the commander in chief doesn’t 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,” Obama said.
Trump responded in real time with several tweets typed in all caps. He repeated without evidence the claim that Obama spied on his campaign and questioned his support for Biden.