Obama tears into Trump at Philadelphia rally: ‘The next 13 days will matter for decades to come’
Former President Obama delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump and urged Americans to go out and vote, warning that “the next 13 days will matter for decades to come.”
Speaking from outside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, Obama had a clear message for socially distanced supporters in their cars.
“We cannot afford four more years of this, Philadelphia,” Obama said to a mix of car horns and applause.
Obama ripped Trump’s pandemic response, saying, “The idea that this White House has done anything but screw this up is just untrue.”
“We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook,” Obama said. “They probably used it to, I don’t know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere.”
The 44th president continued by asking how Trump could be trusted to lead the country through the pandemic if he couldn’t take the “basic steps” to care for himself, referencing Trump’s aversion to wearing a mask and his recent bout with COVID-19.
Obama also hit the president over the economy, which Trump has long touted as one of his strengths.
“The economic damage he inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs,” Obama said,
Obama raised alarms over Republican plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, amid the pandemic.
“It’s shameful,” he said. “The idea that you would take health care away from people at the moment they need it the most — what is the logic of that? There is no logic.”
“They keep on promising we’re going to have a great replacement. They said it’s coming. It’s been coming in two weeks for the last 10 years. Where is it? Where is this great plan to replace ObamaCare? They’ve had 10 years to do it. There is no plan. They’ve never had one,” he said.
Obama also warned voters about becoming complacent ahead of Nov. 3, invoking the results of the 2016 presidential election.
“We’ve got to turn out like never before,” Obama said. “We cannot leave any doubt in this election. We can’t be complacent. I don’t care about the polls.”
Obama framed the election as a battle for democracy.
“Our democracy is not gonna work if the people who are supposed to be our leaders lie every day and just make things up,” Obama said. “This notion of truthfulness and democracy and citizenship and being responsible — these aren’t Republican or Democratic principles. They’re American principles. … We need to reclaim them.”
Wednesday was Obama’s first in-person campaign event of the 2020 cycle. The former president has participated in virtual Biden campaign fundraisers and took part in a socially distanced conversation with Biden that was aired earlier this year. He has also made himself more visible in down-ballot races, making videos for Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Jaime Harrison in South Carolina.
The last time Obama was in Philadelphia was in August during the Democratic National Convention, where he delivered another rebuke of Trump and made the case for Biden.
The rally’s location in Pennsylvania underscored the importance of the battleground state that Trump flipped from blue to red in 2016.
Obama’s rally comes one day after Trump visited Pennsylvania on Tuesday, hitting the campaign trail in Erie.
“The president spent some time in Erie last night and apparently he complained about having to travel here,” Obama said. “Then he cut the event short. Poor guy. I don’t feel that way. I love coming to Pennsylvania.”
A USA Today-Suffolk University poll released earlier Wednesday showed Biden leading by 7 points in the Keystone State.