Flashback: When Barack Obama and John McCain Put Politics Aside

George Bush with McCain and Obama (Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty)
Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty

Presidential rivals Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) put politics aside and offered their support to President George W. Bush during the 2008 financial crisis.

In contrast, 2020 candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden have used the coronavirus to trash President Donald Trump.

Biden delivered an address in which he accused President Trump of misleading the public about the outbreak, delaying tests, and “hollowing out” federal agencies (a claim that has been debunked). He introduced his own plan for coronavirus — though several elements of the plan seemed to have been copied from Trump’s own policy.

Sanders called for Trump to be replaced — at least on the coronavirus issue — by a panel of “experts” and Congress.

Rather than offering the president their unqualified support, the Democrats struck a partisan note in mid-crisis.

The contrast to Obama’s and McCain’s conduct in 2008 is stark. Though Obama and McCain were locked in a bitter political fight — with Obama declining to join McCain in suspending his campaign — both deferred to the sitting president.

Though the subsequent Wall Street bailout — which passed with both Obama and McCain’s support — was controversial, both made an effort to show their joint support for the country’s president in a moment of crisis.

In his address to the nation on Wednesday evening, President Trump urged Americans to put “politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify as one nation and one family.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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