Former US President Barack Obama has blasted President Donald Trump as egotistical and incompetent during a campaign event in Flint, Michigan.
Obama spoke Saturday at a drive-in rally at his first joint campaign event with Joe Biden. Obama told the crowd that Trump “cares about feeding his ego” while Biden “cares about keeping you and your families safe”.
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Wearing a black windbreaker but no mask, the former president spoke for Biden’s character in personal terms. He called the former vice-president “my brother” and declared: “I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president.”
Obama said the president is “jealous of Covid’s media coverage” and joked about Trump being obsessed with crowd size.
“What is his obsession, by the way, with crowd size? He’s still worried about his inauguration crowd being smaller than mine … Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid? Was he traumatised?”
Obama also dinged Trump on his masculinity, declaring that being a man once meant “taking care of other people,” not “strutting and showing off, acting important, bullying people.”
“Joe Biden tries to live the values we cherish. Honesty, hard work, kindness, humility, responsibility. Helping somebody else out.
“That used to be the definition of manliness. Not strutting and showing off, acting important, bullying people. It used to be, being a man meant taking care of other people. Not going around bragging, but just doing the work. Not looking for credit, trying to live right.”
Obama won the state of Michigan twice before Trump won it in 2016 by just over 10,000 votes, and he encouraged the crowd to vote, warning them not to be “complacent”.
We’re three days out from polling day, and both candidates are staying busy.
Trump is holding four rallies in the crucial swing state Pennsylvania. Biden is in Michigan, where he’s appearing at a couple of events alongside his former boss, Obama. And the two vice presidential nominees, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, are crisscrossing the country as well.
While Obama has been active on the trail for Biden in recent weeks, this is their first day of joint campaigning.
Michigan remains a top target for Biden as he seeks to rebuild the “blue wall” of Rust Belt states, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that went for Obama previously but delivered Trump a win in 2016.
Trump is also heaping attention on the state, with a visit to Michigan on Friday and two more planned for Sunday and Monday.
Melania hits out
First Lady Melania Trump appeared at a rally in Wisconsin earlier, and threw some pretty sharp punches at Joe Biden.
“It was Joe Biden who accused President Trump of xenophobic hysteria for putting the American people first and closing travel from China and parts of Europe. Now they are saying we didn’t do enough,” she said.
Biden did indeed call the President xenophobic, though he would dispute Melania Trump’s characterisation of that insult.
The Democrat says he was criticising Trump’s rhetoric on China (particularly his use of the terms “Wuhan virus” and “China virus” – not the partial travel ban the President imposed at the start of February.
The actual context of Biden’s remark was ambiguous, so it’s very much open to interpretation.
“Joe Biden says he could do a better job leading our great nation,” Melania continued.
“Apparently when you hide in a basement, you feel safe communicating your wishful thinking.”
Biden had a bit of fun with that line, tweeting his response.
Melania also defended the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first lady told the crowd in Wisconsin that the Trump administration has “worked tirelessly” on behalf of Americans during the crisis. She accused congressional Democrats of being obstacles to further virus aid.
Like the president, Melania is going after Biden for saying the United States is headed for a “dark winter” due to the pandemic.
The first lady said “that is not the statement of a leader.” She said Biden wants to make people hide in fear in their basements rather than “work bravely” to find solutions.
The president was focused on destroying the virus and creating ways for people to safely gather with friends again, she said.
Trump and Biden narrow in on swing states
Trump says the nation is at a crossroads as Election Day approaches.
He spoke Saturday near the Pennsylvania site where George Washington had his headquarters before he crossed the Delaware River. Trump said this election has the potential to be a similarly momentous event.
In three days, the president said, “this is the state that will save the American dream.” He predicted victory in Pennsylvania.
Trump, who narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, is holding four events across the state Saturday as he aims to keep it in his column. Without the state, his path to 270 electoral votes grows much more challenging.
Trump narrowly lost Bucks County in the Philadelphia exurbs in 2016. He hopes to at least keep down Biden’s margins in that part of the state while running up the score in more rural areas.
“We’re spending the day in Pennsylvania, and I think we’re doing extremely well with the votes,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House this morning.
“It’s going to be a very interesting three days. It’s going to be a very interesting Tuesday.
“A big, red wave has formed. We’re doing very well.”
Red, of course, is the colour associated with Trump’s Republican Party.
Obama plans to campaign in Georgia on Monday in an election-eve push to shift the traditionally Republican into the Democratic column.
Obama will be in Atlanta for a rally to boost Biden and the two leading Democratic Senate candidates in the state. Jon Ossoff is challenging GOP Senator David Perdue, and fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock is running in a special election against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.
Georgia hasn’t voted for a Democrat in a presidential race since 1992. But the Biden campaign is looking to capitalize on the favorable political environment in the state as the coronavirus pandemic drags down President Donald Trump in typically GOP-leaning states.
Biden was in Georgia this past week and his running mate, Kamala Harris, campaigned there the week before.
But Republicans are working to defend their hold on the state, and Trump is set to campaign in Georgia on Sunday.
Obama also is set to visit Florida on Monday, in what will be his second visit to the state in a week. Democrats believe that if they can deny the president a win in Florida, it will help counter any possible efforts by Trump and others to raise doubts about the legitimacy of the election.
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