Former President Bill Clinton took aim at President Trump in pointed terms on Tuesday, in his brief address at the Democratic National Convention.
Pointing to Trump, the former president argued that “if you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man. Denying, distracting, and demeaning works great if you’re trying to entertain and inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses like a house of cards.”
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And criticizing the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Clinton spotlighted that the U.S. has “just 4 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s COVID cases. Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple.”
“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes—his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there,” the former president said.
Clinton painted a contrast between Trump and the leadership style of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy. A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide,” Clinton said. “Our choice is Joe Biden.”
And spotlighting what’s at stake in the presidential election, Clinton stressed that “you know what Donald Trump will do with four more years: blame, bully, and belittle. And you know what Joe Biden will do: build back better.”
Clinton was preceded during Tuesday night’s virtual session by former President Jimmy Carter.
The 95-year-old Carter noted that “when I ran for president in 1976, Joe Biden was my first and most effective supporter in the Senate. For decades, he has been my loyal and dedicated friend.”
Carter said that “Joe has the experience, character, and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness. We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”
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Carter was joined by his wife Roslyn, who gave her own comments in support of Biden.
Clinton’s wife, former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is scheduled to speak on Wednesday night.
Bill Clinton enjoyed high-profile appearances at each Democratic convention dating back to 1988, when the then-Arkansas governor gave a long-winded keynote address. Perhaps his most noteworthy speech came not during his two appearances as the nominee in 1992 and 1996 – but rather in 2012, when he stole the spotlight as he delivered a long but effective speech making the case for another four years for President Barack Obama.
But this time around, the former president spoke for less than five minutes. In many ways, the former president has become an afterthought, a moderate relic in a party that’s moved to the left. This is also the first election cycle amid the #MeToo movement, and Clinton comes with the baggage of multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations – all of which he’s denied.
Pointing to the past controversies surrounding the former president, the Trump campaign said that “it’s 2020 and Democrats are still honoring Bill Clinton. He’s the last person who should be giving lectures on what should or should not be happening in the Oval Office.”
And the president took to Twitter minutes after Clinton spoke, to push back against the former president’s dissecting of his job combating the coronavirus.
“Tell the Dems that we have more Cases because we do FAR more Testing than any other Country!” Trump tweeted, repeating an argument he’s made numerous times this summer.
Factcheck.Org disputes the president’s claim.
“Trump is wrong to say that testing is the only reason why cases are increasing in the U.S. On the contrary, data from some of the places being hardest hit shows that the case numbers are outpacing any increases in testing, since the percentage of positive tests is climbing — sometimes dramatically so,” Factcheck.org said.