February 27, 2021

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Obama and Biden criticize Trump coronavirus response

VP Joe Biden made remarks, with President Barack Obama by his side, before the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in Washington, DC. on December 13, 2016.

Cheriss May | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden teams up with his old boss, former President Barack Obama in a new video that draws a sharp contrast between President Donald Trump’s approach to voters and Biden’s style.

Biden and Obama met at Obama’s Washington office. After sitting down across the room from one another, Biden asks Obama whether he could imagine standing up as president and saying, “It’s not my responsibility, I take no responsibility,” as Trump has previously done.

“Those words didn’t come out of our mouths when we were in office,” Obama says in the video clip from the Biden campaign. The full-length video will be released Thursday. 

Biden criticizes Trump for “his inability to get a sense of what people are going through.” 

“He just can’t relate in any way,” says Biden.

“One of the things that I have always known about you, Joe, it’s the reason why I wanted you to be my vice president and the reason why you were so effective. It all starts with being able to relate,” Obama tells Biden.

“If you can sit down with a family and see your own family and the struggles that you’ve gone through or your parents went through or your kids are going through, if you can connect those struggles to somebody else’s struggles, then you’re going to work hard for them. And that’s always what’s motivated you to get into public service,” says Obama. 

In March, Trump was asked whether he took responsibility for his administration’s lagging rate of coronavirus testing in the United States.

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” he said

The White House sharply pushed back against Obama and Biden’s characterization of Trump’s response.

“Any suggestion that President Trump did not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously or prioritize the health and safety of the American people is blatantly false,” spokesman Judd Deere said. “During these uncertain times, Americans are receiving comfort, hope and resources from President Trump.”

The coronavirus outbreak has spread worldwide, with more than 14.9 million confirmed cases and over 616,990 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has had more than 3.9 million cases and at least 142,073 deaths, according to the latest tallies, more than any other country.

The video marks the first time Obama joined Biden face to face during the 2020 cycle, as the presumptive Democratic nominee campaigns virtually to diminish the risk of spreading and contracting the coronavirus.

Biden’s campaign is using the video to engage voters in what is increasingly shaping up to be a digital presidential race, by encouraging supporters to text a number that appears on screen to be notified when the full video is released.

It’s not the first time Obama and Biden have used their energy to drive the campaign. Obama has stumped for Biden in the last month, as well as sent numerous letters of support to the Biden campaign email list. Biden earned Obama’s endorsement in April, with the former president tweeting that “Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”

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