Obama Slams Trump's Pandemic Response: 'He Can't Even Take Basic Steps to Protect Himself' from COVID-19
Former President Barack Obama is slamming Donald Trump for his response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, asserting that his successor is not going to "suddenly protect all of us" when he isn't taking the "basic steps" of COVID protection himself.
During the drive-in rally for Democratic nominee and his former vice president Joe Biden at the Florida International University campus in Biscayne, Obama spoke out against the way Trump has been handling the pandemic, telling voters that because of the president's actions — or lack thereof — "the rest of us have to live with the consequences."
"Eight months into this pandemic, eight months into this pandemic, new cases are breaking records," Obama, 59, explained. "Donald Trump isn't going to suddenly protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."
Trump was hospitalized with the virus earlier this month and received a mix of steroids, antivirals and experimental antibody treatments. He has frequently shown his disdain for wearing masks, either by not complying or mocking them.
"There's no sense that he's coming up with a new approach, with a new plan. He doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem," Obama continued. "Just this week, he complained that the pandemic was making him go back to work. If he had been working in the first place, we never would have seen the situation get this bad."
During his speech, Obama continued to stress that Trump, 74, "doesn't have a plan" to combat the virus, and "doesn't take responsibility for what's happening across the country."
The former president also reacted to Trump's recent 60 Minutes interview which he "cut short," complaining on Twitter that the questions from CBS News' correspondent Lesley Stahl were “biased” after he was asked about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his inflammatory rhetoric towards Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, his decision to promote unsafe public gatherings at his campaign rallies amid the pandemic, as well as his attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading health official on infectious disease.
During the Miami event, Obama said Trump's refusal to answer certain questions should be something of concern for voters. "Listen, Miami, if he can’t answer a tough question like ‘what would you like to do in your second term,’ then it’s up to us to see he doesn’t get a second term," Obama said.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, Obama gave another scathing takedown of Trump during a rare in-person campaign appearance in Philadelphia.
In his speech, the Democrat again derided Trump for his response to the pandemic, which has so far led to the deaths of more than 220,000 Americans, according to a New York Times tracker.
"Presidents up for re-election usually ask if the country is better off than it was four years ago," Obama said. "I’ll tell you one thing: Four years ago you’d be tailgating here at the Lincoln instead of watching a speech from your cars."
"Right now as we speak, Trump won’t even extend relief to the millions of families who are having trouble paying the rent or putting food on the table because of this pandemic," he added, referring to the ongoing negotiations between Congress and the White House over coronavirus stimulus.
Speaking less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, Obama urged voters to back Biden's campaign and to not grow complacent based on poll numbers that show the Democratic presidential nominee leading Trump.
The former president didn't hold back when discussing the pandemic, tearing into Trump for recent remarks in which Trump said he had few regrets in terms of responding to the virus.
"Just yesterday, when asked if he’d do anything differently, Trump said, 'Not much.' Really? Not much?" Obama said. "Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? So, Joe’s not going to screw up testing. He’s not going to call scientists idiots. He’s not going to host a super spreader event at the White House."
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.