Former President Obama, in his first appearance on the 2020 virtual campaign trail with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, promised that “help was on the way — if we do the work,” before tearing into President Donald Trump’s “shambolic” approach to government.
At an online “grassroots fundraiser” streamed online — which quickly became the campaign's highest-grossing event to date — the former president recalled how various challenges he walked into when he took office, including the Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were made slightly less difficult because he knew that his predecessor, George W. Bush, “still had a basic regard for the rule of law and the importance of our institutions.”
Trump, on the other hand,was practicing a “shambolic, disorganized, mean spirited approach to government” that put in existential danger American values, Obama said.
“What we have seen over the last couple of years is a White House enabled by Republicans in Congress and a media structure that supports them that has not just differed in terms of policy but has gone at the very foundations of who we are and who we should be," Obama said.
"That suggests facts don’t matter, science doesn’t matter, that suggests a deadly disease is fake news," he added, making a veiled reference to Trump’s comments in February that the coronavirus pandemic was a “hoax.”
“That actively promotes division. And that considers some American in this country more real than others,” Obama continued. “That, we haven’t seen out of the White House in a very long time.”
The former president said that “help is on the way — if we do the work,” adding, “There's nobody that I trust more to heal this country and get it back on track than my dear friend Joe Biden.”
But, Obama warned, Democratic voters must not take the race for granted just because Biden is currently leading Trump in the polls.
"We can't be complacent or smug or sense that somehow it's so obvious that this president hasn't done a good job because, look, he won once," Obama said.
"This is serious business," he added at another point. "Whatever you've done so far is not enough."
The event, however, ended with a tender moment between the two men, with Obama saying, "Love you, Joe."
"Love you, too, pal," Biden replied.
The event marked Obama’s first appearance of the 2020 campaign with Biden on the virtual trail. Biden announced at the start of the fundraiser that it had raised $7.6 million from 175,000 small donors and another $3 million from big donors — his campaign’s highest-grossing event to date of the cycle thus far. The event lasted just under 90 minutes. Obama sported a black blazer and a black shirt.
The Trump campaign seized on the amount of cashed raised shared by Biden, releasing a statement during the event that noted that it had raised $10 million "over the weekend of" Trump's sparsely attended Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — a total "far more than" the Biden-Obama event.
Trump himself, also addressed Obama's joining Biden on the trail, telling reporters at a campaign event in Arizona that to point out the former president's campaigning efforts for Hillary Clinton in 2016 did not result in a win for the Democratic ticket.
"Don’t forget I am only here because of him and Biden," Trump said. "I’m only here because of them, because if they did a good job we wouldn’t have been here, there would have been no reason."'
Tuesday's fundraiser comes just days after news emerged that the Biden campaign out-fundraised the Trump campaign in May. Biden's overall fundraising total, however, still trails the Trump campaign's massive war chest. The Trump campaign said earlier this week it had $265 million in cash on hand.