In fiery speech, Obama tells voters Biden stands 'with democracy, not dictators'

Barack Obama.
(Image credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Wednesday for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling supporters at a drive-up rally in Philadelphia that having Biden in the White House would mean a return to calm.

President Trump goes "out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't support him and threatens them with jail," Obama said. "That's not normal presidential behavior. We wouldn't tolerate it from a high school principal, we wouldn't tolerate it from a coach, we wouldn't tolerate it from a co-worker, we wouldn't tolerate it from our own family, except for maybe a crazy uncle. Why would we accept this from the president of the United States? Why are folks making excuses for that?"

There have been no consequences for Trump's actions, Obama declared, and he has emboldened others to be "cruel and divisive and racist," fraying the fabric of society. "It affects the way our children see things," Obama said. "It affects the way that our families get along and it affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Referring to multiple reports that Trump called U.S. soldiers who died in combat "suckers" and "losers," Obama said Biden would "never" fling such insults at members of the military, and knows that "these heroes are somebody's children, somebody's spouse, somebody's dad or mom. He understands that, and he's going to restore our standing in the world, because he knows America's true strength comes from setting an example."

The United States' allies want to "follow a nation that stands with democracy, not dictators," Obama said. "A nation that can mobilize and inspire others to overcome threats like climate change and terrorism and poverty and disease." Biden will usher in a new era of normalcy, Obama continued, and without Trump's divisiveness, "you're not going to have to argue" about the things he says every day. "It just won't be so exhausting."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.