Bill Clinton directly attacked President Donald Trump as incapable of doing the job Tuesday night, accusing him of spending hours a day watching TV and playing around on social media instead of combating COVID.
‘If you want a president who defines the job is spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man,’ Clinton said during his speech on the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
President Trump spends several hours a day in ‘executive time,’ as was revealed last year in a report on his private schedule. It’s rare to see an early morning event on his public schedule, which does not reflect all of a president’s activities. An early riser, Trump tweets several times a day, most days of the week. And many of those tweets refer to news stories that had aired recently on his favorite networks Fox News and OAN.
Clinton, who spent eight years in the Oval Office in the 1990s, criticized the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, blaming Trump’s lack of action for the high infection rate in the United States, where 5.49 million have had the virus and more than 171,000 have died.
‘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. COVID doesn’t respond to any of that. To beat it, you’ve got to go to work and deal with the facts,’ Clinton said.
Clinton was one of two former president to endorse Biden, with Jimmy Carter, 95, delivering an audio message with his wife Rosalynn saying: ‘Joe has the experience, character and decency to bring us together, to restore America’s greatness. We deserve a person with integrity.’
Clinton spoke just before Joe Biden was officially declared the Democratic candidate to take on Trump and on a night which saw another virtual event, with Jill Biden ending with a personal endorsement of her husband, presenting him as a man who will both feel and heal a nation’s pain.
The party replaced the traditional roll-call with a virtual one from every state and territory, and also saw firebrand socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez given 60 seconds to formally nominate second-placed Bernie Sanders – which she pointedly did without mentioning Biden.
And it rolled out endorsements of Biden by Colin Powell, George W. Bush’s secretary of state, Republican defense secretary Chuck Hagel, a retired USAF lieutenant general, and Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine whose firing was part of the events which led to Trump’s impeachment.
Clinton’s speech was a searing indictment of the current president and a pointed break with the post-presidential tradition of not attacking successors. But it was timed at just five minutes, and places early in the two-hour line-up meaning it did not feature on network television coverage.
Speaking on his 74th birthday from his home in Chappaqua, New York, where he has been on lockdown for months, Clinton made the response to the coronavirus the heart of his prosecution of Trump.
Voters give President Trump low marks for his handling of the pandemic. Clinton used the majority of his five minute speech to focus on Trump’s response to the global health emergency.
‘When he didn’t like the expert advice he was given, he ignored it,’ Clinton said of Trump. ‘Only when COVID exploded and even more states that he encouraged people to wear masks. And then many more were dying.’
‘When asked about the surging deaths. He shrugged and said, it is what it is, but didn’t have to be this way,’ he added.
‘COVID hit us much harder than it had to.’
Clinton also called the Oval Office a ‘storm center’ under Trump’s tenure, attacking the president by name. And he will hit Trump where it hurts – his economic record. Trump likes to brag he created the best U.S. economy ever.
‘Donald Trump says we’re leading the world,’ Clinton said.
‘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,’ he added.
Left unsaid were parallels between the two presidents – both of them impeached, and both with questions over their private life and associations with Jeffrey Epstein – any mention of their former friendship, and any nod to its shattering when Trump ran against the former president’s wife Hillary.
Clinton then pivoted to Joe Biden, touting him as a ‘go-to-work president.’
‘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. Our choice is Joe Biden,’ he said.
He closed his pre-taped remarks by offering a stark contrast to voters in November.
‘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. It’s Trump’s ‘Us vs. Them’ America against Joe Biden’s America, where we all live and work together. It’s a clear choice. And the future of our country is riding on it,’ he concluded.
Clinton’s remarks aired after new pictures revealed Tuesday showed Clinton enjoying an intimate neck massage with a young Jeffrey Epstein victim in photographs obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
The troubling pictures are an ill-timed reminder of Clinton’s links to Epstein as the former President, 72, prepared to endorse Biden at the Democratic convention.
Leading Tuesday’s call-to-arms for voters was Bill Clinton, who has spoken at every Democratic convention since 1980.
He memorably made the case for his wife Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Barack Obama in 2012 – being so effective in his arguments Obama dubbed him ‘the secretary of ‘splaining stuff.’
But Clinton, who had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky when he was president and has been accused of sexual misconduct by other women, will be in the convention spotlight for the first time since the #MeToo movement has gripped the country.