Barack Obama has blasted President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and fitness for the job in a tub-thumping campaign speech less than two weeks before the US election.
At a drive-in rally on behalf of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the former president said Donald Trump “isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us”.
“He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself,” he told those gathered in Philadelphia last night. Mr Obama governed for two terms and remains one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party.
His first major intervention in the campaign filled a gap left by Mr Biden, who has stayed at home in Delaware since Monday to prepare for tonight’s crucial TV debate with Mr Trump in Nashville.
In a 35-minute speech, Mr Obama mocked the President over revelations that Mr Trump has a Chinese bank account, as well as his tax records. “How is that possible? A secret Chinese bank account. Listen, can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election?
“You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me Beijing Barry,” said Mr Obama. He also referred to a recent New York Times report that Mr Trump only paid $750 in federal income tax in his first year in the White House.
He added: “My first job was in a Baskin-Robbins when I was 13 years old, I think I might have paid more tax...dispensing ice-cream. How is that possible? How many people here have paid less than that?” Mr Obama also likened Mr Trump to a “crazy uncle” and claimed he emboldened racists.
Appearing at his latest campaign rally in Gastonia, North Carolina, Mr Trump mocked his predecessor’s reported initial lack of enthusiasm for Mr Biden’s White House run.
“There was nobody that campaigned harder for crooked Hillary Clinton than Obama, right? He was all over the place,” he said. “I think the only one more unhappy than crooked Hillary that night was Barack Hussein Obama.”
In another development, US national security officials accused Iran of sending threatening emails to Democratic voters in swing states. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Tehran was behind “spoof emails” purporting to be from the far-Right Proud Boys group intended to “intimidate voters and damage” the President.
Mr Ratcliffe also said Iran and Russia had obtained “some voter registration information”, amid concerns that foreign states are attempting to influence the result of the November 3 election.