There is a time to be poignant, precise, and elegant. There is also a time to just completely roast somebody and that is exactly what former President
Barack Obama recently did to current President Donald Trump at a rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Obama was campaigning for his friend and former Vice-President Joe Biden and, in doing so, he pretty much cut a half-hour-long wrestling promo on the WWE Hall of Famer (Trump). Obama is usually a man of class and dignity. He has proven to take the high road more often than not when it comes to responding to critics, racists, and assholes (or, to put it simply, Trump). Even when triggered, Obama stands his ground and turns the other cheek almost every time. This rally in Pennsylvania was not that time. While Obama was still poised and dignified (man, remember when we had a president that could be called poised and dignified?), he made no bones about the fact that Donald Trump has completely blown it as his successor.
Like most Obama speeches, this one in Philadelphia was still inspiring and empowering, but it also revealed his true thoughts about Trump and, in doing so, became our favorite political speech of the last four years. We’ve included the full speech below but, for your ease (and really, mostly just for our entertainment) we have ranked Obama’s best burns on the current Commander-in-Chief.
Cover Photo: Alex Edelman (Getty Images)
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Obama Speech 2020
What Hurts the Most
“[Trump] hasn’t shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself or his friends, or treating the presidency like a reality show that he can use to get attention. And by the way, even then, his TV ratings are down. So you know that upsets him.”
“You know, I know the president spent some time in Eerie (Pennsylvania), last night and apparently he complained about having to travel here. Then he cut the event short…poor guy. I don’t feel that way. I love coming to Pennsylvania.”
At Least He's Self Aware
“I’ve sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. And they are very different people. I explained that I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my policies, but I did hope, for the sake of the country, that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously. But it hasn’t happened.”
Reality Is Stranger Than Fiction
“The thing is, this is not a reality show, this is reality. And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously.”
Do the Work
“Well, I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic that he ignored. But you know what? The job doesn't work that way. Tweeting at the television doesn't fix things. Making stuff up doesn't make people's lives better. You've got to have a plan. You've got to put in the work.”
Better Off Dead
“Presidents up for reelection usually ask if the country is better off than it was four years ago. I'll tell you one thing: four years ago you'd be tailgating here at the Lincoln instead of watching a speech from your cars.
The only people truly better off than they were four years ago are the billionaires who got his tax cuts.”
Crazy Uncle Donnie
“You'll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that maybe seals didn't actually kill bin Laden. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine. What?
We're not going to have a president that goes out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't support him or threaten them with jail. That's not normal presidential behavior. We wouldn't tolerate it from a high school principal, we wouldn't tolerate it from a coach, we wouldn't tolerate it from a co-worker.
We wouldn't tolerate it in our family, except for maybe crazy uncle somewhere.”
Inheriting and Squandering a Country
“Donald Trump likes to claim he built this economy but America created 1.5 million more jobs in the last three years of the Obama-Biden administration than in the first three years of the Trump-Pence administration. How you figure that? And that was before he could blame the pandemic.
Now, he did inherit the longest streak of job growth in American history but just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up. The economic damage he inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to actually lose jobs.”
Fact-Checkers Losing Count
“They understand that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends more than on just photo-ops. It depends on actually learning the facts and following the science and not just making stuff up whenever it's convenient.
Our democracy is not going to work if the people who are supposed to be our leaders lie every day and just make things up. And we've just become numb to it. We've just become immune to it. Every single day, fact-checkers can't keep up.”
Who Does That?
“When the daily intelligence briefings flash warning signs about a virus, a president can't ignore them. He can't be AWOL. Just like when Russia puts bounties on the heads of our soldiers in Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief can't be missing in action. I can tell you this, Joe Biden would never call the men and women of our military suckers or losers. Who does that?”
The One About the Taxes
“We know that he continues to do business with China because he's got a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible? How is that possible? A secret Chinese bank account.
Listen, can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection? You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would've called me Beijing Berry. It is not a great idea to have a president who owes a bunch of money to people overseas. That's not a good idea.
I mean, of the taxes Donald Trump pays, he may be sending more to foreign governments than he pays in the United States. His first year in the White House he only paid $750 in federal income tax.
Listen, my first job was at a Baskin-Robbins when I was 15 years old. I think I'm might have paid more taxes that year working at dispensing ice cream. How is that possible? How many people here pay less than that? It's just possible now that if you are living high on the hog and you only pay $750 in taxes that maybe, just maybe he might not know what working people are going through here in Pennsylvania.”
A Pandemic Playbook
“We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook that would have shown them how to respond before the virus reached our shores. They probably used it to I don't know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere. We don't know where that playbook went.
Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country. Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself. Just last night, he complained up in Eerie that the pandemic made him go back to work. I'm quoting him. He was upset that the pandemic's made him go back to work. If he'd actually been working the whole time, it never would've gotten this bad.”
“So, look, here's the truth. I want to be honest here. This pandemic would have been challenging for any president but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up -- it's just not true. I'll give you a very specific example.
Korea identified its first case at the same time that the United States did. At the same time, their per capita death toll is just 1.3 percent of what ours is. In Canada, it's just 39 percent of what ours is. Other countries are still struggling with the pandemic but they're not doing as bad as we are because they've got a government that's actually been paying attention. And that means lives lost. That means an economy that doesn't work. And just yesterday, when asked if he'd do anything differently, Trump said, "Not much." Really? Not much? Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive?”
The Most Important Takeaway
But the most important thing Obama said, and the thing that will hurt Donald Trump the most, was that Trump doesn't represent the best of us. He represents the worst of us and, now, it's up to us to remember who we are and who we can be.
“We will not leave any doubt about who we are as a people, and the values and ideals that we embrace. What Lincoln called the better angels of our nature, those are still in us. We see them operating every single day. We see them in neighborhoods, we see them in churches and synagogues and mosques and temples. We see them in people helping out a neighbor. We see them inside our own families. We see that what is best in us is still there, but we've got to give it voice, and we've got to do it now.”