USA

Former president Obama in fierce denunciation of Donald Trump

Washington D.C. - Former US president Barack Obama (59) criticized his successor Donald Trump (74) unusually harsh terms at the Democratic National Convention.

A still frame of Barack Obama, former president of the USA, during the US Democratic Party Convention.
A still frame of Barack Obama, former president of the USA, during the US Democratic Party Convention.  © dpa/AP/Democratic National Convention/Uncredited

He warned of a threat to democracy and appealed to Americans to vote for Joe Biden (77) and his running mate Kamala Harris (55).

The German News Agency (DPA) published excerpts from his speech:

"The only constitutional office elected by all of the people is the presidency, so at minimum, we should expect a president to feel a sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of all 330 million of us - regardless of what we look like, how we worship, who we love, how much money we have - or who we voted for.

"But we should also expect a president to be the custodian of this democracy. We should expect that regardless of ego, ambition or political beliefs, the president will preserve, protect and defend the freedoms and ideals that so many Americans marched for and went to jail for; fought for and died for.

"I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. 

"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."

Serious accusations against Donald Trump

Donald Trump (74), president of the USA, speaks to his supporters during an election campaign event at Yuma International Airport.
Donald Trump (74), president of the USA, speaks to his supporters during an election campaign event at Yuma International Airport.  © dpa/AP/Matt York

"For close to four years now, 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.

"Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before (...)

"What I know about Joe and Kamala above all is that they actually care about every American. And they care deeply about this democracy.

"They believe that in a democracy, the right to vote is sacred, and we should be making it easier for people to cast their ballot, not harder.

"They believe that no one — including the president — is above the law, and that no public official — including the president — should use their office to enrich themselves or their supporters."

Obama over Joe Biden and runner-up Kamala Harris

Joe Biden (77), the Democratic presidential candidate, and Kamala Harris (55), the Democratic vice presidential candidate, on stage during the Democratic Convention.
Joe Biden (77), the Democratic presidential candidate, and Kamala Harris (55), the Democratic vice presidential candidate, on stage during the Democratic Convention.  © dpa/AP/Carolyn Kaster

"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.

"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; that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends on a fidelity to facts and science and logic and not just making stuff up.

"None of this should be controversial. These should not be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They're American principles.

"But at this moment, this president and those who enable him, have shown they don’t believe in these things.

"Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of these dark times and build it back better. 

"But here’s the thing: no single American can fix this country alone. Not even a president. Democracy was never meant to be transactional — you give me your vote; I make everything better. It requires an active and informed citizenry. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability — to embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure.

"Because that is what is at stake right now. Our democracy."

"They will tear down our democracy"

"(...) Don’t let them take away your democracy. Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too (...)

"You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place. You’re the missing ingredient — the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed.

"That work will continue long after this election. But any chance of success depends entirely on the outcome of this election. This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win. So we have to get busy building it up - by pouring all our effort into these 76 days.

"And by voting like never before - for Joe and Kamala, and candidates up and down the ticket, so that we leave no doubt about what this country we love stands for - today and for all our days to come (...)"

Cover photo: dpa/AP/Matt York, dpa/AP/Democratic National Convention/Uncredited

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