Washington

Obama: Trump cares more about his ego than protecting people from COVID-19


Former President Barack Obama on Saturday joined forces on the campaign trail with his loyal sidekick Joseph R. Biden, telling voters in Michigan on Halloween that President Trump is more interested in “feeding his ego” than making sure the nation is safe from the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Obama, the first Black president of the United States, has relished his chance to assume the role of attack dog, picking apart Mr. Trump’s time in office, and promoting the Democratic presidential nominee’s ability to move the country in a better and more unifying direction.

Mr. Obama said Mr. Trump’s obsession with crowd sizes is baffling and said the Republican’s decision to hold campaign rallies amid the coronavirus is troubling.

“Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party as a kid? Was he traumatized?” Mr. Obama said at a drive-in rally in Flint. “What’s with crowds?”

“You know what our country is going through pandemic that is not what you are supposed to be worried about,” Mr. Obama said. “And that is the difference between Joe Biden and Trump right there. Trump cares about feeding his ego, Joes cares about keeping you and your family safe.”

The former White House duo also planned to appear together in Detroit, which could be instrumental in Mr. Biden’s push to flip the state back into the blue column in the 2020 presidential race.

Mr. Obama urged voters to recognize that their jobs and health care, as well as the nation’s ability to combat the pandemic, is on the ballot in the presidential race.

“Remember when Republicans were saying let Detroit go bankrupt? You remember that? ” he said. “Now they might as well be saying, ‘Let America get COVID.’ “

Mr. Obama said Mr. Biden will bring decency and character back to the White House.

“Listen, Michigan, Joe Biden is my brother, I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president,” Mr. Obama said. “He has the character and experience to make us a better country.”

Michigan is a battleground.

Mr. Trump in 2016 became the first Republican since 1988 to carry the state of Michigan after Hillary Clinton struggled to energize Black voters in Detroit, making it impossible for her to offset the surge of support Mr. Trump received in the small cities and towns and more rural parts of the state.

Mr. Trump carried the state by fewer than 11,000 votes.

Mr. Biden is running strong in Michigan, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls that show him with a 6-point lead over Mr. Trump.

Despite the polling lead, there is a sense of urgency this go-round in the Democratic ranks that they cannot take anything for granted and cannot underestimate Mr. Trump’s ability to rally his base.

Democrats, though, are optimistic that Black voters will not sit this one out, banking on the notion that they have been turned off by Trump’s polarizing rhetoric and his response to the coronavirus, which has hit minority communities harder than others.

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