Former President Barack Obama spoke for 45 minutes at a campaign parking lot rally for his two-term Vice President, Joe Biden, on Saturday at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus.
The speech followed a quick morning visit by Obama to the United Teachers of Dade office in Miami Springs. It was his first South Florida event since he campaigned in 2018 for Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum and then-Senatorial candidate Bill Nelson.
The speech was punctuated by car horns honking and multiple attacks on President Donald Trump by the former occupant of the oval office. Wearing a white dress shirt and speaking movingly, Obama made fun of Trump’s suggestion that Lysol could cure the coronavirus and his payment of only $750 in federal tax the year he took office (as the New York Times has reported.)
When talking about the position of the President, Obama spoke about how change is not made by the leader alone. The commander-in-chief, he said, must have the support of other officials. He encouraged people to vote: “Voting is about using the power we have and pulling it together to get a government that’s more concerned, more responsive, and more focused on you.”
He also called attention to the care of pandemic victims and how he believes Biden and his vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, understand what needs to be done to get through this difficult time. He harshly criticized Trump’s strategy. “It depends on more than just banter and making stuff up. It depends on a fidelity to science, logic, and facts.”
The former President wanted to make it clear that the things that Harris and Biden envision for the country are not just political. They are inspired by values that the pairs wants to bring back. “These are not Democratic or Republican values, Florida. These are American values. We have to reclaim [them] and in order to do that we have to turn out like never before,” he said.
Trump was also in South Florida to start the day. He voted in Palm Beach County. Biden spoke in Pennsylvania.
First-time voter Federico Rodriguez was disappointed by the speech, which he listened to at home in Doral. The first in his family to go to the polls, he cast his early vote for Donald Trump.
“Obama kept saying that under Biden’s administration everything will go back to normal and Trump’s ‘hostile’ behavior will not be repeated,” he said. “Yet he was doing what he said wouldn’t happen if Biden gets elected. Very hypocritical in my opinion.”
Twenty-five-year-old Adrian Colon, a Biden voter, had to exit the family home in Doral to listen to the Obama speech. His family is made up of Trump voters.
“I had to leave my own home in order to avoid being verbally attacked when tuning into the former president’s speech,” says Colon. “It is so sad that… me wanting to listen to what Obama has to say will cause a family issue.”
The location of Obama’s speech was kept secret yesterday as Secret Service agents reportedly inspected some campus buildings to make sure the location would secure. Some employees were told to work at home on Friday.