Did Obama try to overthrow Trump
76 days left to save democracy : Barack Obama's merciless reckoning with Donald Trump
Barack Obama could hardly have chosen a more symbolic location for his speech at the US Democratic nomination convention. In the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, the "birthplace" of the USA, where the Declaration of Independence was passed on July 4th and the American Constitution eleven years later, the once first black US president speaks on Wednesday evening (local time).
"I'm going to speak as clearly as possible tonight," says Obama. Because what happens in the next 76 days until the election will have an impact on future generations.
What he has to say triggers shocks even in the White House - his successor Donald Trump declares after a few sentences spread in advance that he only became president because Obama and his deputy Joe Biden had done such a bad job.
And during Obama's speech, Trump drops one angry tweet after another. He feels the tremor.
With the choice of location, Obama makes it clear that, from his point of view, the election on November 3rd is about the whole thing: the continued existence of democracy in America.
Obama: Another four years of Trump endanger human life
“This government has shown that it will destroy our democracy if it is necessary to win,” he said in his speech. Democracy is at stake, and he wants to defend it with all the power that is at his disposal as a former president.
See Barack Obama's complete speech on the Democratic Party Congress here (you can read the transcript here):
Another four years of Donald Trump, according to his message, would seriously endanger the country, its institutions and, above all, the lives of many people. Never before has an American ex-president interfered in an election campaign so clearly - and positioned himself so clearly against his successor, whom he considers to be a complete, dangerous misconduct.
The way he talks in front of a wall that says “Writing the Constitution” is a truly historic moment. This speech, his willingness to throw himself fully into this battle for his former Vice-President Joe Biden, could become one of his most important political acts.
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The fact that the gifted speaker keeps her so incredibly calm and friendly and at the same time so decisive and - surprisingly for him: very emotional - increases the force of his attack.
"Donald Trump did not grow into the job"
He had hoped “for the good of the country” that Donald Trump would try to take his task seriously - “that he would feel the weight of this office and discover some awe of the democracy that was entrusted to him. But he never did that, ”says Obama. “Donald Trump didn't grow into the job because he can't. And the consequences of this failure weigh heavily. "
His verdict on the record of almost four years Trump was devastating: he only used the power of his office to help himself and his friends. He treated the presidency like "another reality show with which he can get the attention he longs for". He had shown no interest in bringing people together.
Under Trump, Obama continues, not only 170,000 Americans died during the corona pandemic, but millions of jobs were also lost. Under Trump, the US would have lost its reputation in the world.
Obama praises Biden
There is someone who, in his eight years in office, has placed great value on the fact that his country and himself are internationally respected. Therefore, in the November 3rd election, the Americans would have to ensure “that the basic principles of our democracy continue to exist”.
Obama has long hesitated to criticize Trump directly. The 45th President often seems to have no other aim than to badmouth his predecessor and destroy his legacy by reversing his decisions. Now Obama says: "These are not normal times."
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Then he talks about his "friend" Joe Biden, who served him as vice-president for eight years. He is a man full of empathy and decency, who is firmly convinced that everyone counts. “Joe” made him a better president - “and he has the character and experience to make us a better country”.
In Kamala Harris, he has also chosen an “ideal partner” who knows what it means to overcome obstacles. Together they would realize their vision of a better, a fairer and a stronger America.
The most important speech of your life
Californian Senator Harris, who was previously officially nominated as a runner-up for the Democratic Party, has to show immediately afterwards that she is not outshone by Obama.
She succeeds in doing this simply because she is so excited about her nomination. That too is historical. The 55-year-old is the first African American and Asian woman to play the role. If elected, she would be the first woman to hold this post.
Kamala Harris understands what her nomination means for many women of color in America. Her voice is warm and haunting, her speech is powerful, probably the most important of her life - and that of all things at an almost purely virtual party conference.
[More on the topic: Not-white, female, power-conscious - Kamala Harris embodies the next political generation]
Harris speaks in Joe Biden's hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, where he announced a week ago that she should stand by his side. The absence of cheering party friends doesn't seem to bother her: she can't stop smiling. And her speech is full of optimism and anticipation for the new task.
Watch Kamala Harris's full Democratic Congress speech here:
She and Biden shared a vision of a country, says Harris, where everyone is welcome, where it doesn't matter how you look, where you're from or who you love.
"A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united in the fundamental conviction that every human being is of infinite worth and deserves compassion, dignity and respect." Today's America is far from that.
Harris also says: "Donald Trump's failure in leadership has cost lives and livelihoods"
She, too, sharply criticizes the president, whom she accuses of turning tragedies into political weapons.
"Donald Trump's failure in leadership has cost lives and livelihoods," says Harris. “We have reached a turning point. The constant chaos makes us helpless. The incompetence scares us. "
The corona pandemic hits members of minorities particularly hard.
[More on the topic: US Democratic Party Conference - How Joe Biden Serves Americans' Desires]
“It's not a coincidence. It is the result of structural racism. ”She adds,“ There is no vaccine against racism. We have to do the work. "
To do this, the Americans would have to elect a president “who brings something different, something better”. "A president who brings us all - blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, indigenous peoples - together to achieve the future we all want together."
Biden is this man, he will bring everyone together. "Let's fight with hope."
Much like Obama and Harris, Hillary Clinton had previously said: America needs a president in these difficult times who shows compassion, determination and leadership in the White House, says the former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, who lost to Trump in 2016.
She wished Trump knew how to behave as a president. After her defeat, says the 72-year-old, she gave him a real chance to prove himself in office. "Trump asked in 2016: What do you have to lose? Today we know: our health system, our jobs, our loved ones, our leading role in the world - and even our mail. "
Note: In an earlier version of the article, a paraphrasing description was quoted in the text in the heading. However, the quote did not reflect the wording of Obama's speech. We have corrected this and apologize for the mistake.
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