Barack Obama Condemns Donald Trump for Treating the Presidency Like 'One More Reality Show'

Barack Obama
DNCC via Getty Images

The former president spoke during Wednesday's Democratic National Convention.

From one president to another: Barack Obama is not holding back on what he sees as the failures of Donald Trump's presidency. The former commander in chief spoke during Wednesday's Democratic National Convention and shared his experience with Trump from having spent time with him in the Oval Office.

"I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care," he said. "But he never did."

"For close to four years now, he has 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," Obama listed.

He continued, "Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can't. And the consequences of that failure are severe: 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone, [while] those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before."

Joe Biden, Obama argues, shows the promise of success.

"Twelve years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I didn’t know I'd end up finding a brother," Obama said. "Joe and I came from different places, different generations, but what I quickly came to admire about him is his resilience, born of too much struggle. His empathy, born of too much grief. Joe’s a man who learned early on to treat every person he meets with respect and dignity, living by the words his parents taught him: 'No one's better than you, Joe. But you’re better than nobody.'"

"That empathy, that decency, that belief that everybody counts," he added, "that's who Joe is... And in my friend Kamala Harris, he's chosen an ideal partner, who is more than prepared for the job. Someone who knows what it's like to overcome barriers and made a career fighting to help others live out their own American dream."

Obama concluded his speech on a hopeful note, asking America to "believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to lead this country out of dark times and build it back better."

"They believe that in a democracy, the right to vote is sacred and we should be making it easier for people to cast a ballot. Not harder. They believe that no one, including the president, is above the law," he said. "And no public official, including the president, should use the office to enrich themselves or their supporters. They understand that in this democracy, the commander in chief doesn't use the men and women of the military -- who are willing to risk everything to protect our nation -- as political props to deploy against peaceful protesters on our own soil."

"They understand that political opponents aren't un-American just because they disagree," Obama continued. "A free press isn't the enemy, but the way we hold officials accountable. That our ability to work together to solve big problems, like a pandemic, depend on facts and science and logic, and not just making stuff up. None of this should be controversial. These shouldn't be Republican principles or Democratic principles. They are American principles."

Former President Obama's speech follows after wife Michelle Obama spoke on the first night of the DNC, an impassioned speech in which she advocated for Biden's ability to "rescue the economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country," while declaring Trump "the wrong president for our country."

"If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can -- and they will if we don't make a change in this election," she said. "If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it."

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