Barack Obama gives scathing DNC speech: ‘Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’
Former President Barack Obama offered some of his most pointed criticism of President Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, arguing that his successor turned the presidency into “one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”
“What we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come,” Obama said in one of the most closely watched addresses on the convention’s third night.
“I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies,” Obama said. “I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, that he 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,” he said.
‘Donald Trump Hasn’t Grown Into The Job Because He Can’t’
Though Obama has criticized Trump’s policies before, his remarks Wednesday were far more pointed – and personal. Obama rarely mentions the president by name – even as Trump has slammed his administration on a near-daily basis – but did so twice in his 19-minute speech.
“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,” Obama said in the live address delivered from Philadelphia.
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t,” Obama said. “And the consequences of that failure are severe.”
Trump wasted no time firing back. Responding to excerpts of Obama’s remarks earlier in the day, Trump described Obama as “so ineffective, so terrible” as he offered an extended criticism of the Iran agreement intended to slow Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapons program.
“The reason I’m here is because of President Obama and Joe Biden,” he said.
Obama accused Trump of using the military as “political props” during Black Lives Matter protests in Washington.
Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala 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.
“They understand that political opponents aren’t ‘un-American’ just because they disagree with you, that a free press isn’t the ‘enemy’ but the way we hold officials accountable,” he said.
InJune, Trump told governors to quell protests or he would deploy the military. Then he strolled through a park near the White House that had been forcefully cleared of protesters minutes earlier and brandished a Bible in a photo op in front of a church that had been damaged by protesters. The incident drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans and became a turning point in the way Trump characterized the Black Lives Matter protesters.
Obama, who burst into national politics with a memorable convention speech in 2004, hopes to rally the coalition of Black and young voters who twice propelled him to the Oval Office – many of whom stayed at home during the 2016 election.
The former president spoke fondly of his relationship with Biden while they were in office together, and his remarks were preceded by a video of Obama surprising Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a display intended to underscore their friendship.
“Twelve years ago, when I began my search for vice president, I didn’t know I’d end up finding a brother,” he said.
“Joe is a man who learned early on to treat every person he meets with respect and dignity. … That empathy, that decency, the belief that everybody counts, that’s who Joe is,” Obama said.