Remember when we had a president we didn’t hear about every day? Even as his former vice president, Joe Biden, has formally sought his old gig, former commander-in-chief Barack Obama has stayed relatively (though certainly not entirely) quiet. Perhaps he didn’t want to steal Biden’s thunder. Or perhaps he just wanted to carry on being someone who’s not constantly everywhere. But on Wednesday he made an exception.
The 44th president was in Philadelphia for a drive-in rally, not only to support his two-time running mate but to deliver a fierce rebuke to his successor. And though he’s been reluctant to attack Trump in the past, this time he pulled no punches, characterizing him as “incapable of taking the job seriously.” And that only scratches the surface of what Obama had to say about him.
“I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my polices, but I did hope for the sake of the country, that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously,” Obama told the crowd. “But it hasn’t happened. He hasn’t showed any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself and his friends.” He even chastised Trump for ruining the great economy he’d left him, saying, “just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up.”
Obama reserved particular ire for Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in over 220,000 American deaths, with no end in sight. He referenced an interview in which, when asked what he would do differently, Trump said “not much.”
“Really? Not much?” Obama said. “Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive?”
Obama’s appearance came soon after it was reported that Trump had a secret Chinese bank account, and the he paid more in taxes there than he did back home. Obama bristled at the double-standard, that the man who followed him gets away with things he never would have had he done them — which he wouldn’t have.
“Listen, can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection?” Obama asked the crowd. “You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me Beijing Barry.”
But perhaps Obama’s most convincing argument for why one shouldn’t vote for Trump was this: Biden is, compared to Trump, and no insult intended, pretty boring. “It just won’t be so exhausting,” Obama said, adding that voters are “not going to have to think about the crazy things … and that is worth a lot.”
You can watch Obama’s full speech in the video above.