Biden and Obama criticise Trump’s failure to take responsibility in teaser for streamed conversation

‘I don’t understand his inability to get a sense of what people are going through,’ presumptive Democratic nominee says

James Crump
Wednesday 22 July 2020 17:03 BST
Biden and Obama criticise Trump's failure to take responsibility

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have criticised Donald Trump’s leadership, in a teaser for a filmed discussion between the pair.

The former president and vice president filmed a socially-distant conversation about challenges facing the US, in Mr Obama’s office in Washington, DC earlier this month, that will be streamed on Mr Biden’s YouTube channel on 23 July.

The US president has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and when asked earlier in the year about a delay in mass Covid-19 testing, said: “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.”

In the teaser, titled President Obama and Vice President Biden: A Socially Distanced Conversation, the two men, who entered the building wearing face masks, discussed Mr Trump’s comment about responsibility, but did not mention him by name.

“Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying ‘it’s not my responsibility. I take no responsibility.’ Literally. Literally,” said Mr Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Obama replied: “Those words didn’t come out of our mouths while we were in office.”

The former vice president then said: “No. I don’t understand his inability to get a sense of what people are going through.”

He added: “He just can’t, he can’t relate in any way.”

Mr Biden was Mr Obama’s vice president for eight years between 2009 and 2017, and the former president praised him for his ability to connect with the American people.

“One of the things 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...vit all starts with being able to relate.”

He added: “If you can sit down with a family and see your own family in them 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.”

The conversation, that will be streamed on Thursday, is the first public meeting between the two since the presidential campaign began, but Mr Obama did endorse Mr Biden for president in a video message in April.

The filmed discussion is the first time Mr Biden has left Delaware and the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania for a campaign event for months, according to CNN.

Social distancing measures have kept rallies to a minimum in recent months as states have attempted to limit big crowds of people, but the president held some recently amid rising coronavirus cases, before he switched back to virtual events, as infection rates hit record numbers.

Mr Trump has seen a steep decline in support in numerous polls over the last few months, after his responses to the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests were criticised.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden has seen his support in polls rise in the same period and a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll published on Wednesday showed a lead over the president with registered voters nationally of eight percentage points.

Mr Biden had support from 46 per cent of those polled, in comparison to the president’s 38 per cent, while the remaining 16 per cent were undecided, according to the survey carried out between 15 and 21 July.

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