President Trump is accusing Obama of a crime and the former president is signaling his willingness to get involved in the campaign – in favor of Biden.
By Susan Milligan,
He’s got an approval rating in the upper 50s, stratospheric in the modern era of bitter partisan division. He’s experienced enough to be an elder statesman, but young enough to claim a coolness factor. Until recently, he’s largely stayed above the fray when it comes to the tumultuous first term of President Donald Trump.
With the election less than six months away, Trump has zeroed in not just on his presumptive opponent Joe Biden, but on his predecessor, Barack Obama, belittling his record and most recently, accusing the former president of an unspecified crime.
And Obama, abandoning the old rule of staying mum while your successor does a job only a few living Americans have weathered, is fighting back, making a case against Trump arguably more pivotal than the one Biden is making. While Biden takes shots at Trump’s policies, character and coronavirus response on a daily basis, Obama speaks from an exalted position, analysts say, with an ability to reach young and minority voters essential to the Democratic coalition.
He’s not just another surrogate. He’s uniquely an ambassador to Joe Biden. These guys are the best of friends,” says Moe Vela, who was a senior staffer to Biden when he was Obama’s vice president. Not only can Obama appeal to youth, African American, Latino and LGBTQ voters, but he can pull back those voters who took a chance on Trump in 2016 because they wanted to shake things up, Vela says.
“The Obama-Trump voter is going to make the difference in this election,” Vela says. “Joe Biden gives them a chance to come back.”
Trump has long appeared to have a minor obsession with his Democratic predecessor, blaming Obama for various ills the sitting president says Obama left in his lap. Trump has slammed Obama’s record on dealing with the H1N1 flu (which killed 12,469 Americans, compared to more than 80,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus). The sitting president has criticized Obama for taking credit for the recovery from the Great Recession, although the recovery began when Obama was still in office.