Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech on Tuesday that blasted President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response, saying he has given Americans plenty of evidence that he’ll never take the pandemic seriously.
“Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself,” the former president said, referencing Trump’s recent bout with COVID-19 that required a three-night hospital stay.
It was one of several scathing lines Obama delivered about his successor at a drive-in rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Philadelphia. Trump has called concerns about the coronavirus a “hoax” and said it would disappear on its own, dismissed the need for protective measures, refused to order federal safeguards and pushed unproven treatments while more than 220,000 Americans died from COVID-19.
“We literally left the White House a pandemic playbook,” Obama said of a simulation exercise that his administration held for Trump’s team days before they took office. “They probably used it to, I don’t know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere,” Obama chided.
“Joe’s not going to screw up testing,” he said of his former vice president. “He’s not going to call scientists idiots. He’s not going to hold a superspreader event at the White House.”
The outbreak that affected Trump and dozens of others in his orbit has been linked to a gathering the president held in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A day before the Biden rally, Trump was at the other end of Pennsylvania pushing the state to open up more of its economy despite the rise in cases there over the past two months.
“It’s a choice between our plan to kill the virus or Biden’s plan to kill the American dream,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Erie. “That’s what he’d be doing. Biden will delay therapies, postpone the vaccine, prolong the pandemic, close your schools, shut down our country. By the way, Pennsylvania’s been shut down long enough. Get your governor to open up Pennsylvania.”
Obama balked at Trump’s version of events on Wednesday.
“I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic he ignored,” Obama said. “But you know what, the job doesn’t work that way. Tweeting at the television doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t make people’s lives better.”
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