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Obama: Biden and Harris believe no public official 'should use their office to enrich themselves'

Obama calls Harris the 'ideal partner who is more than prepared for the job,' said Trump ‘hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

Published: August 19, 2020 10:33pm

Updated: August 20, 2020 12:33am

Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday night that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running-mate Sen. Kamala Harris believe "no one" including the president is "above the law" and that public officials shouldn't "use their office to enrich themselves."

"They believe that in a democracy, the right to vote is sacred, and we should be making it easier for people to cast their ballot, not harder. They believe that no one – including the president – is above the law, and that no public official – including the president – should use their office to enrich themselves or their supporters," Obama said during his speech from Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention.

"No single American can fix this country alone. Democracy was never meant to be transactional – you give me your vote; I make everything better. So I am also asking you to believe in your own ability – to embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure," said Obama, still largely considered the Democratic Party's most influential member. 

Obama said he "never expected" that Trump would embrace his vision or continue his policies.

"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 but he never did," he said.

"He has shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves," he added.

Obama, who had Biden as his vice president for both of his White House terms, also had a message for Americans protesting for racial equality after the death of George Floyd.

He said "I’ve seen that same spirit rising these past few years... Americans of all races joining together to declare, in the face of injustice and brutality at the hands of the state, that black lives matter—no more, but no less—so that no child in this country feels the continuing sting of racism."

"To the young people who led us this summer, telling us we need to be better – in so many ways, you are this country’s dreams fulfilled. Earlier generations had to be persuaded that everyone has equal worth," he said. "For you, it’s a given – a conviction. And what I want you to know is that for all its messiness and frustrations, your system of self-government can be harnessed to help you realize those convictions."

Obama said Trump "hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t and the consequences of that failure are severe."

He mentioned the coronavirus death toll and the millions of jobs gone. Obama said Biden has the experience to lead America's economic recovery.

Obama said Biden "made me a better president" and will make America a "better country."

He called Harris the "ideal partner who is more than prepared for the job." 

"Joe knows the world and the world knows him," he said. "He knows our true strength comes from setting an example the world wants to follow. A nation that stands with democracy, not dictators."

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