Former US president Barack Obama has slammed his successor, Donald Trump, labelling him deeply unfit for the office he occupies and uninterested in “taking the job seriously”.
Mr Obama launched his attack as he argued that voting for his former No.2, Joe Biden, was necessary to ensure the very survival of American democracy.
“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,” Mr Obama said of Mr Trump during the third night of the Democratic National Convention.
Mr Biden was formally nominated on Tuesday night (local time) to take on Mr Trump in the November 3 presidential election. US senator Kamala Harris, his choice for Vice-President, also spoke on Wednesday, while Mr Biden will do so on Thursday.
Speaking before Ms Harris, Mr Obama went on to state that Mr Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe”.
Mr Obama blamed Mr Trump for the 170,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus, the millions of jobs lost to the ensuing recession and the diminishing of the country’s democratic principles at home and abroad.
After avoiding direct criticism for most of Mr Trump’s first term, the scathing broadsides from Mr Obama constituted an unusually harsh assessment of one president by another.
His assertion that Mr Trump, a Republican, is incapable of meeting the demands of the presidency echoed the remarks from his wife, Michelle Obama, on Monday, that Mr Trump “simply cannot be who we need him to be”.
Mr Obama, who remains enormously popular among Democratic voters, also used his speech to offer a personal endorsement of Mr Biden, who served as his vice-president for two terms.
“For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision,” he said. “He made me a better president – and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”
On Twitter, Mr Trump responded to Mr Obama’s appearance with a post in all capital letters: “WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?”
Mr Obama also urged Americans to vote, warning that Mr Trump and his Republican allies can win only by suppressing and undermining votes, rather than on the merit of their policies.