Politics 2020: Former President Obama and Kamala Harris Slam Trump

 

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for the largely virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque© REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for the largely virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Senator Kamala Harris, seeking to become the first woman in the White House, delivered a message of inclusivity Wednesday as she made history in accepting the Democratic nomination for vice president.

“I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America. I do so committed to the values [my mother] taught me, to the word that teaches me to walk by faith and not by sight,” Harris said during her DNC speech. “And to a vision passed on through generations of Americans, one that Joe Biden shares, a vision of our nation as a beloved community, where all are welcome.”

“Today, that country feels distant,” Harris said on a live feed from a convention center in Wilmington, Del.

She extolled running mate Joe Biden as a leader who will bring people together.

“Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons,” Harris said.  “Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.”

Harris is the first Black woman and the first Asian-American person on a major party’s presidential ticket.

Before she spoke, former President Barack Obama called her an “ideal partner” for Biden who is more than prepared for the job as “someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers.”

She addressed the virtual convention on a night that was both a reminder of the powerful force women have become in the Democratic Party –  as well as the limitations they still face in breaking what Hillary Clinton described after her 2016 loss as that “highest, hardest glass ceiling.”

 

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks by video feed during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 19, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS© 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks by video feed during the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 19, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS

Obama slams Trump as ‘reality show’ president

Former President Barack Obama ripped into President Donald Trump during an address to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, arguing that his successor has 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 in the convention’s third night. “I did hope that…Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously….but he never did.”

Though Obama has criticized Trump’s policies before, his remarks Wednesday were far more pointed – and personal – than he’s been in the past. Obama, speaking live from Philadelphia, rarely mentions Trump by name but was expected to do so several times Wednesday.

Obama, who burst into national politics with a memorable convention speech in 2004, is hoping 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’s remarks were preceded by a video of Obama awarding Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a display intended to underscore the friendship the two men enjoyed.

Obama described former Vice President Joe Biden as a key ally during his administration, an adviser who helped propel many of his policies forward.

It was exactly the kind of validation that many Democrats hoped Obama would bring the convention.

“For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision,” Obama said. “He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”

Democrats hoped Obama, who spoke live from Philadelphia, would highlight Biden’s efforts on passing the 2009 health care law as well as overseeing the economic stimulus that helped the U.S. climb out of the Great Recession.

“Along with the experience needed to get things done, Joe and Kamala have concrete policies that will turn their vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into reality,” Obama said.

Obama accused Trump of using the military as a “political prop,” a reference to the president’s photo-op during Black Lives Matters protests in Washington.

“They 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 of Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

“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 added.

Obama was referring to an incident earlier this year in which Trump brandished a Bible after strolling through a park near the White House that had been cleared of protesters minutes earlier. The incident drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans and became a turning point in the way Trump characterized the Black Lives Matter protesters.