Barack Obama plans to deliver a convention speech Wednesday that will offer biting criticism of his successor Donald Trump and characterize Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as just the people who can lead “this country out of dark times.”
Obama will be one of the marquee speakers on the convention’s third night, which will finish with the convention’s acceptance speech.
“I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president,” Obama plans to say, according to prepared remarks. “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.
“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 go on to say that “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. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”
By contrast, Obama says that Biden is “a man who learned early on to treat every person he meets with respect and dignity, living by the words his parents taught him: ‘No one’s better than you, but you’re better than nobody.'”
Obama also plans to make a reference to Trump’s 2016 convention speech, when he said of the country’s problems, “I alone can fix it.”
Obama will ask viewers to “believe in Joe and Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of dark times and build it back better. But here’s the thing: No single American can fix this country alone. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. 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’s what at stake right now: our democracy.”
Democrats also released excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s remarks. She also will slam Trump, while urging people to vote.
An example: “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.’ Well, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election. If you vote by mail, request your ballot now, and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker. Most of all, no matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.