Barack Obama at DNC to blast Trump as ‘treating the presidency’ like ‘one more reality show’


Other speakers on Night 3 include Kamala Harris, who will accept her party's historic vice presidential nomination, and Hillary Clinton.

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.SUBSCRIBEAug. 19, 2020, 10:26 PM UTCBy Adam Edelman

Former President Barack Obama will sharply criticize his successor on the third night of the virtual Democratic National Convention on Wednesday as self-absorbed and self-serving, with “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

On a night that will also see Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, make history as she formally accepts her party’s nomination for vice president, Obama will say Trump has proven himself incapable of doing the job he himself held for eight years, a failure with “severe” and deadly consequences.

“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,” Obama will say, according to excerpts released by organizers.

“But he never did. He’s 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; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama will say.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama will say. “170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”

Obama will also offer a firsthand account of what it’s like to work with Biden, who served as his vice president, according to the excerpts.

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Obama will make his speech live at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The location is intended to underscore that “our very democracy is on the line,” according to a statement from convention organizers released alongside the excerpts of Obama’s remarks.

Obama will be just one of several big-name Democrats to speak Wednesday night. The speakers also include Harris, the first woman of color nominated to the presidential ticket of a major political party. She will accept the nomination to be Biden’s running mate in a speech just before Obama’s, in which she, too, will take direct aim at Trump.

“We’re at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot,” Harris will say, according to excerpts released by convention organizers. “We can do better and deserve so much more,” she will add, slamming Trump’s “failure of leadership” as something that “has cost lives and livelihoods.”

Barack Obama at DNC to blast Trump as 'treating the presidency' like 'one more reality show'

DNC: Harris to accept historic VP nomination, remarks from Obama and Clinton

Aug. 19, 202002:55

“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together — Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want,” she will say, according to the excerpts. “We must elect Joe Biden.”

Clinton, meanwhile, will warn voters that they will have no excuse this election to underestimate “how dangerous” Trump is.

“For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous he was.’ ‘I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worst, ‘I should have voted,'” Clinton will say, according to excerpts released by organizers.

“Well, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election,” Clinton will say in a message that will also urge people to “vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

Clinton’s speech, which is expected to last five to seven minutes, will be delivered live from her living room in Chappaqua, New York.

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Trump wasted no time pre-emptively hitting Obama and Clinton, calling the former president at a news conference Wednesday afternoon “so ineffective” and “so terrible.” He alsotweeted, “Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary. See you on the field of battle!”

The two-hour event Wednesday, with programming tied to the theme of “A More Perfect Union,” will focus on efforts to make the American promise a reality for everyone. It will be emceed by actress Kerry Washington and feature performances by singers Billie Eilish and Jennifer Hudson.

Other speakers include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who became a gun control activist after she was shot in 2011.

Pelosi will speak after Clinton during a segment of the programming that will focus on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The amendment ostensibly gave women the right to vote, but Black women did not see the right guaranteed until decades later.


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