Former U.S. President Barack Obama took aim at Donald Trump during his address at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday evening, saying Trump hasn’t grown into the job of president, because “he can’t.”
“And the consequences of that failure are severe,” he said. “170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone.”
“Our worst impulses unleashed.”
Obama said having Democratic nominee Joe Biden at his side as vice-president made him “a better president,” calling him both a “friend” and a “brother.”
“For eight years Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision.” Obama said. “He made me a better president, and he’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”
He said Biden’s empathy and resilience make him the right choice for a U.S. president.
“That decency, the belief that everybody counts — that’s who Joe is,” he said.
The former president also applauded Biden’s running mate selection, saying California Sen. Kamala Harris is an “ideal partner” who is “more than prepared for the job.”
He said Harris is someone who “knows what it’s like” to overcome barriers.
“Along with the experience needed to get things done, Joe and Kamala have concrete policies that will turn their vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into reality.”
Obama called on Americans to vote, saying the country’s democracy is at stake.
He said abstaining from voting is “how a democracy withers until it’s not a democracy at all.”
“We can’t let that happen,” he said.
In a series of tweets Wednesday evening, Trump reacted to Obama’s comments.
“WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE?” Trump wrote, “AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?”
Trump also claimed — without providing evidence – that Obama had spied on his campaign, saying he “got caught.”
In her remarks during the convention’s third night, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she wishes Trump “knew how to be a president.”
“Because America needs a president right now,” she said. “We need leaders equal to this moment.”
Clinton continued, saying Biden and Harris are the “team to pull our nation back from the brink.”
“I know something about the slings and arrows she’ll face,” Clinton said. “And believe me, this former District Attorney and Attorney General can handle them all.”
But Clinton said Biden and Harris can’t do it without the public’s help and urged Americans to vote.
“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 again,’ or worst, ‘I should have voted,’” she said.
“This can’t be another woulda shoulda coulda election,” Clinton continued.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also addressed the convention on Wednesday, offering her support for Biden.
“Joe Biden is the president we need right now: battle-tested, forward-looking, honest and authentic,” she said.
Biden was officially named the Democratic nominee on Tuesday.
In a tweet, Biden said it is the “honor of my life to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of The United States of America.”
He is scheduled to address the convention on Thursday.
Harris accepted the vice-presidential nomination during an historic speech Wednesday evening.
She spoke of the critical need to bring the United States together — while voting Trump out of the White House.
“We can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.
“We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work,” she said. “A president who will bring all of us together — Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want.”
-With files from Global News’ Sean Boynton and The Associated Press