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Obama joins Biden in online video attack on 'divisive' Trump

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US presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo: Reuters

US presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

US presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo: Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and ­former US president Barack Obama stepped up their attacks on Donald Trump and defended their time in the White House.

The 15-minute video, posted online yesterday, is the latest move to get the former president involved in the 2020 campaign for his former vice president, as Mr Biden tries to rebuild Mr Obama's winning ­coalition in November.

The pair used the interview-style conversation to amplify Mr Biden's arguments against Mr Trump, with Mr Obama emphasising Mr Biden's experience and attributes. They pointed to their administration's signature health care law and blamed Mr Trump for stoking division and ­animosity among Americans from the moment he entered the 2016 presidential race.

They were also sharply ­critical of the Republican ­president's efforts to ­combat the coronavirus, which has killed more than 140,000 Americans.

"Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying, 'It's not my responsibility, I take no responsibility'?" Mr Biden says, echoing his recent campaign speeches when he asserted that Mr Trump "quit" on the country and has "waved the white flag" in the pandemic.

Mr Obama replies: "Those words didn't come out of our mouths while we were in office." ­

Initially wearing masks before sitting down well apart from each other to observe social distancing for a bare-faced chat, Mr Biden's campaign billed it as their first face-to-face meeting since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Mr Obama compared the nation's current economic circumstances to what he inherited when he took office in 2009 after the financial ­collapse the previous year.

"We had to move fast, not just 100 days," Mr Obama says. "We had to move in the first month to get the recovery act passed."

Mr Biden, calling Mr Obama "Mr President", answered that he'd repeat what he learned: "We have got to sustain and keep people from going under ­forever."

The former president largely stayed out of the once-crowded Democratic primary but endorsed Mr Biden in April, when he was the last candidate standing.

Mr Obama hosted a virtual fundraiser for his former vice president last month that raised $7.6m (€5.9m), the most of any Mr Biden campaign event so far. He warned then against Democrats becoming ­"complacent and smug".

In other exchanges, Mr Obama and Mr Biden blast Mr Trump's view of American society, and Mr Obama praises Mr Biden as possessing an empathy that Mr Trump lacks. "He ran by deliberately dividing people from the moment he came down that escalator, and I think people are now going, 'I don't want my kid growing up that way,'" Mr Biden said, recalling Mr Trump's 2016 campaign.

Mr Obama responds that he had confidence in Mr Biden's "heart and your character".

Governing, the former president said, "starts with being able to relate".

"If you can sit down with a family and see your own family in them … then you're going to work hard for them, and that's always what's motivated you," he insisted.

Mr Trump's ­campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for ­comment.

Irish Independent