Former President Barack Obama laid into his successor in the starkest terms yet on Wednesday night, excoriating President Donald Trump as incapable of handling the responsibilities of the presidency and uninterested in “taking the job seriously.”
Speaking before Sen. Kamala Harris at Wednesday night’s Democratic National Convention, Obama said that while he never expected Trump to “embrace my vision or continue my policies,” he also never believed he would treat the presidency as “anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”
A former president issuing a harsh critique of the current president, in another era, would be a more unique occurrence. But Trump has entirely changed the calculus by not only attacking his Democratic predecessors, but also the presidents from his own party.
“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,” Obama said. “But he never did."
Obama then listed the things Trump was unwilling to do, including put in the work to be president, find common ground with others or help anyone other than himself and his own friends.
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said. “170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”