Obama Slams Trump During Philadelphia Rally: 'We Cannot Afford Four More Years of This'

Obama criticized Trump over his handling of the pandemic, the economy, and health care. The event marked Obama's first 2020 stump speech for Biden.


Image via Getty/Alex Edelman/AFP


Barack Obama delivered one of his most scathing rebukes of Donald Trump on Wednesday in what marked his first in-person campaign event in the 2020 presidential race.

The former president addressed a crowd outside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where he urged Americans to cast their votes for his former vice president, Joe Biden, and Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris. Obama underscored the importance of getting Trump out of office, telling Philly residents, "We cannot afford four more years of this." He then highlighted many of Trump's perceived failures; the most notable of which was his abysmal handling of the pandemic. 

"Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself," Obama said, referring to Trump's recent COVID-19 diagnosis. "Here's the truth—I want to be honest here: This pandemic would have been challenging for any president. But this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true."

He then brought up Korea's handling of the health crisis, pointing out it had identified its first case at the same time as the U.S., but managed to keep its per capita death toll to just 1.3 percent of our nation's.

"Other countries are still struggling with the pandemic but they’re not doing as bad as we are because they’ve got a government that’s actually been paying attention," he continued. "... And just yesterday, when asked if he’d do anything differently, Trump said, 'Not much.' Really? Not much? Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? So, Joe’s not going to screw up testing. He’s not going to call scientists idiots. He’s not going to host a super spreader event at the White House. Joe will get this pandemic under control with a plan to make testing free and widely available, to get a vaccine to every American cost free and to make sure our frontline heroes never ask other countries for their equipment they need."

Obama also criticized POTUS for attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare; rolling back environmental protection programs; allegedly disparaging fallen soldiers; emboldening racists; and promoting baseless conspiracy theories.

"It just won’t be so exhausting. You might be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner without having an argument," Obama said. "You’ll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that maybe seals didn’t actually kill bin Laden. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine. What? What? We’re not going to have a president that goes out of his way to insult anybody who doesn’t support him or threaten them with jail. That’s not normal presidential behavior."

The speech took place with just 13 days until Election Day. Though Biden continues to lead Trump in the national polls, Obama cautioned audience members to not become overly confident.

"We can’t be complacent. I don’t care about the polls. There were a whole bunch of polls last time, didn’t work out, because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home and got lazy and complacent," he said. "Not this time, not in this election ... I’m asking you to remember what this country can be. What it’s like when we treat each other with respect and dignity, what it’s like when our elected officials actually behave responsibly. I’m asking you to believe in Joe’s ability, in Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of these dark times, and help us build it back better, because we can’t abandon those who are hurting right now."

Trump was also on the campaign trail Wednesday night, appearing at rally in North Carolina. The president acknowledged Obama's Philly speech in support of Biden, insisting he believed it would benefit his reelection efforts.

"You know Obama is now campaigning," Trump told the crowd. "... No, it's good. There was nobody that campaigned harder for crooked Hillary Clinton than Obama. He was all over the place ... And then I won ... The only one more unhappy than crooked Hillary that night was Barack Hussein Obama."

He also, once again, boasted about his inauguration crowds and said that any photos showing the turnout as relatively low were taken after he finished speaking.

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