Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday berated President Donald Trump at a campaign stop for his former vice president, Joe Biden.
“We need to reclaim our values,” Obama said, arguing that Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), could lead the country out of “dark times.”
The former president criticized President Trump’s character, citing the angry messages on Twitter and the personal attacks against his rivals.
“That’s not normal presidential behavior,” Obama said, noting that Americans would not tolerate Trump’s behavior from a high school principal or a coach, but perhaps a “crazy uncle” in someone’s family.
“Why would we accept this from the President of the United States and why are folks making excuses for that?” he asked with disbelief.
Obama said that the president’s behavior only emboldened the negative forces in the country.
“There are consequences to these actions. They embolden other people to be cruel and divisive and racist,” he said.
Obama spoke at a drive-in rally for Biden in Philadelphia. His supporters repeatedly honked their horns in support of his speech, an unusual backdrop for the president that once enjoyed large cheering crowds.
“I will tell you one thing, four years ago, he would be tailgating here at the lake instead of watching the speech from your cars,” he claimed.
Obama took the stage taunting Trump for joking about having to work hard for reelection due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The president spent some time in Erie last night and apparently he complained about having to travel here and he cut the event short,” Obama said. “Poor guy. I don’t feel that way; I love coming to Pennsylvania.”
Obama spends most of his time in Washington, DC, and at his newly purchased $11.75 million home in Martha’s Vineyard.
“America is a good and decent place, but we’ve just seen so much noise and nonsense that sometimes it’s hard for us to remember,” the former president said.
Obama also criticized Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true,” he said.
He compared South Korea and Canada’s response to that of the United States, praising their governments for handling the response to the coronavirus differently.
“Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself,” Obama said.
Obama accused Trump of “screwing up” testing, calling scientists “idiots,” and he criticized Trump for hosting a “super spreader event” at the White House.
Obama also claimed that his economic record was far better than Trump’s, accusing the president of making the economy worse.
“Just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up,” Obama said.
Some of Obama’s attacks were predictable, criticizing Trump for trying to repeal Obamacare and arguing that he only supported tax cuts for billionaires, but the former president also leveled several misleading political attacks against Trump.
Obama repeated the widely debunked story that President Trump called soldiers “suckers” and “losers.” He also taunted Trump for having a “secret bank account” in China, even though it’s a requirement for doing business in China.
But overall, Obama focused on a moral argument for Americans to vote out Trump, urging his supporters to not trust the polls that showed Biden winning.
“We need to get those values back at the center of our public life,” he said. “And we can, but to do it we’ve got to turn out like never before.”