Michelle Obama criticised US President Donald Trump’s “utter lack of empathy” on Monday, which marked the first night of a four-day virtual Democratic Convention.
The former First Lady called Trump the “wrong president for our country” who “cannot be who we need him to be for us.”
“Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy,” she stated in the pre-recorded speech.
Referring to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 170,000 lives in the US, Obama said Trump “has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head.”
Her 20-minute speech — the last and longest address in the Democrats’ experiment with a virtual Convention in the coronavirus era — was earned through her overwhelming popularity in her party and relative scarcity in the political arena.
She used that spotlight to make a broad appeal, reaching out to Democrats but also to nonvoters and former Trump voters who may be regretting their choice.
Trump calls Biden “Trojan horse for socialism”
Earlier in the day, before the event, Trump took a dig at the former first lady’s coming speech, noting that her remarks were prerecorded and that his own speech at the Republican National Convention next week will be live.
“Who wants to listen to Michelle Obama do a taped speech?” he said at a rally in Wisconsin.
He also accused Biden of being a “puppet of left-wing extremists trying to erase our borders, eliminate our police, indoctrinate our children, vilify our heroes, take away our energy.” Trump went on to portray the Democrat camp as a political extreme that strives to implement left-wing fascism.
At an event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Trump said this is the “most important election we’ve ever had.”
The US President appeared at three campaign events in swing states on Monday, two of them in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.
Republican Trump succeeded President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in 2017 and promptly set out to undo many of Obama’s achievements on health care, the environment and foreign policy, among others. Trump also routinely criticises Obama’s job performance.
Obama urges people to vote
Michelle Obama, who leads an effort to help register people to vote, spoke about the importance of voting in the Nov. 3 election, which will take place amid a pandemic that has killed more than 170,000 Americans and infected more than 5 million in the U.S.
She noted that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but still won the election. “We’ve all been suffering the consequences,” she said.
“Now, Joe [Biden] is not perfect. And he’d be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president,” she admitted, adding that Biden “knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country.”
She added: “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
Her remarks came as debate rages in Washington about U.S. Postal Service changes that are delaying mail deliveries around the country. Trump, who lags Biden in some national and state polls, has denounced efforts by some states to expand voting-by-mail options because of the pandemic.
The issue was a constant theme during the Monday night convention, with multiple speakers expressing concerns over the state of the Postal Service and encouraging viewers to vote early.
“She knows the lengths that people are going through, around our country, to suppress the vote, and it’s why she has poured so much of her energy into getting folks registered and educated about voting,” Jarrett said.
In keeping with the virtual nature of the convention, Obama’s remarks were recorded before Biden’s announcement last Tuesday that he had chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.