Obama just gave the brutally honest Trump speech millions of people have been waiting for

When Trump entered the Oval Office on his first day as president, he was greeted by a note from his predecessor. In his letter, Obama congratulated Trump on "a remarkable run," offered a few bits of sage advice, wished him well, and told him that he and Michelle "stand ready to help in any ways which we can." It was a distinguished letter from a statesman, and a beautiful example of the peaceful and supportive transfer of power that has marked every election in modern history.

Since then, Obama has largely stayed above the fray and out of the spotlight, allowing President Trump a chance to do the job without interference. Even when his friend and former vice president Joe Biden announced his run for president, Obama held back on a formal endorsement, letting the political process run its course. At the Democratic National Convention, we saw a shift, as the former president finally let the public hear his frank assessment of Trump's job performance from his experienced point-of-view.

But at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia yesterday, Obama rolled up his sleeves, took off the gloves, and gave real voice to the frustrations half of America has felt for the past four years. And phew—it was gloriously cathartic.


While those who admire Obama admire him for always going high, going high doesn't mean overlooking the obvious. There comes a time and place for laying out the bare truth, no matter how ugly it is. Obama stepped back and gave Trump the time and space to do the job, but now that his term is nearing its end, the time for truth-telling has come.

President Barack Obama Speech at Drive-In Rally in Pennsylvania | Joe Biden for President www.youtube.com


The whole speech is worth watching, especially after the standard pleas to get out the vote. I recommend starting at the 3:20 mark. Here are some highlights:

"I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my policies but I did hope for the sake of the country that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously, but it hasn't happened. He hasn't shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself and his friends or treating the presidency like a reality show that he can use to get attention. And by the way, even then his TV ratings are down. So you know that upsets him.

But the thing is, this is not a reality show, this is reality. And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously. At least 220,000 Americans have died. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed. Millions of jobs are gone. Our proud reputation around the world is in tatters."

On Trump's secret Chinese bank account and taxes and how Fox News would have reacted if that were him:

"We know that he continues to do business with China because he's got a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible? How is that possible? A secret Chinese bank account. Listen, can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection. You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would've called me Beijing Berry. It is not a great idea to have a president who owes a bunch of money to people overseas. That's not a good idea.

I mean, of the taxes Donald Trump pays, he may be sending more to foreign governments than he pays in the United States. His first year in the White House he only paid $750 in federal income tax. Listen, my first job was at a Baskin Robbins when I was 15 years old. I think I'm might have paid more taxes that year working at a dispensing ice cream. How is that possible?"

On responsibility, tweeting, and making things up:

"I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic that he ignored. But you know what? The job doesn't work that way. Tweeting at the television doesn't fix things. Making stuff up doesn't make people's lives better. You've got to have a plan. You've got to put in the work. And along with the experience to get things done, Joe Biden has concrete plans and policies that will turn our vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into a reality."

On the pandemic response:

"We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook that would have shown them how to respond before the virus reached our shores. They probably used it to, I don't know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere. We don't know where that playbook went. Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country. Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself...

This pandemic would have been challenging for any president but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up. It's just not true. I'll give you a very specific example. Korea identified it's first case at the same time that the United States did. At the same time, their per capita death toll is just 1.3% of what ours is. In Canada, it's just 39% of what ours is. Other countries are still struggling with the pandemic but they're not doing as bad as we are because they've got a government that's actually been paying attention.

And that means lives lost. And that means an economy that doesn't work. And just yesterday, when asked if he'd do anything differently, Trump said, 'Not much.' Really? Not much? Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? So, Joe's not going to screw up testing. He's not going to call scientists idiots. He's not going to host a super spreader event at the White House."

On Trump's economic record and Biden's economic plan:

"Donald Trump likes to claim he built this economy but America created 1.5 million more jobs in the last three years of the Obama-Biden administration than in the first three years of the Trump-Pence administration. How you figure that? And that was before he could blame the pandemic. Now, he did inherit the longest streak of job growth in American history but just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up. The economic damage he inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to actually lose jobs.

Joe's got a plan to create 10 million good clean energy jobs as part of a historic $2 trillion investment to fight climate change, to secure environmental justice. And he'll pay for it by rolling back that tax cut for billionaires. And Joe sees this moment not just as a chance to get back to where we were but to finally make long overdue changes so that our economy actually makes life a little easier for everybody, the waitress trying to raise her kid on her own, the student trying to figure out how to pay for next semester's classes, the shift worker who's always on the edge of getting laid off, the cancer survivor who's worried about her preexisting conditions, protections being taken away."

On conspiracy theories and crazy uncles and how character matters:

"With Joe and Kamala at the helm, you're not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day. And that's worth a lot. You're not going to have to argue about them every day. It just won't be so exhausting. You might be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner without having an argument. You'll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that Navy Seals didn't actually kill bin Laden. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine. What? What?! We're not going to have a president that goes out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't support him or threaten them with jail. 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 in our own family, except for maybe crazy uncle somewhere. I mean, why would we expect and accept this from the President of the United States? And why are folks making excuses for that? 'Oh, well, that's just him.' No. No. There are consequences to these actions. They embolden other people to be cruel and divisive and racist, and it frays the fabric of our society, and it affects how our children see things. And it affects the ways that our families get along. It affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters."

On the unqualified people Trump has appointed to run government agencies:

"The Environmental Protection Agency that's supposed to protect our air and our water is right now run by an energy lobbyist that gives polluters free reign to dump unlimited poison into our air and water. The Labor Department that's supposed to protect workers and their rights, right now it's run by a corporate lobbyist who's declared war on workers, guts protections to keep essential folks safe during a pandemic, makes it easier for big corporations to shortchange them on their wages. The Interior Department, that's supposed to protect our public lands and wild spaces, our wildlife and our wilderness. And right now that's run by an oil lobbyist who's determined to sell them to the highest bidder.

You've got the Education Department that's supposed to give every kid a chance, and that's run by a billionaire who guts rules designed to protect students from getting ripped off by for profit colleges and stiffs arm students looking for loan relief in the middle of an economic collapse. I mean, the person who runs Medicaid right now is doing their best to kick people off of Medicaid instead of sign them up for Medicaid. Come on."

There's so much in here that speaks to how tens of millions of Americans have been feeling, and hearing it from no-drama Obama is refreshing. But Obama didn't just lay out the ugly truth about Trump. Much of his speech was spent explaining why Joe Biden would be—will be—the president American needs. He highlighted some of Biden's policy proposals and plans, but the heart of his endorsement is about who Joe Biden is:

"Joe's no stranger to here. He's a native son. Scrappy kid from Scranton. You know him and he knows you. But let me, let me tell you how I came to know him and how I came to love him. Twelve years ago, when I chose Joe Biden as my vice presidential running mate, I didn't know Joe all that well. We had served in the Senate together, but we weren't super close. He and I came from different places. We came from different generations.

But I came to admire Joe as a man who has learned early on to treat everybody he meets with dignity and respect, living by the words his parents taught him, no one's better than you Joe, but you're better than nobody. And that empathy, that decency, that belief that everybody counts, that's who Joe is. That's who he'll be.

And I can tell you the presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are. And Joe has shown himself to be a friend of working people. For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room when I faced a big decision. He made me a better president and he's got the character and experience to make us a better country."

Obama earned the right to retire from the limelight after eight years leading the nation, and he may have hoped to retreat from the political fray after his two terms. But his voice is appreciated by many Americans, and his reason, intelligence, and compassionate leadership is needed now more than ever. Bringing that, along with some raw honesty, to the campaign trail is sure to be a boon for Joe Biden.

Everyone can all use a little lift at the end of the week, and we've collected some of this week's best stories to provide just such a pick-me-up. Here are 10 things we want to share, just because they made us so darn happy.

1. Introducing Lila, the U.S. Capitol Police's first emotional support dog.

After the traumatic experiences of January 6th, Capitol Police officers could definitely use some extra support. Lila, a two-year-old black lab, will now serve as the department's first full-time emotional support dog. Look at that sweet face!

2. Speaking of the Capitol, take a look at this week's gorgeous solar eclipse behind the dome.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared the stunning "ring of fire" image on Twitter. Always a treat when nature gives us a great show.


3. Colorado sees its first wild wolf pups in six decades.

In the 1940s, the gray wolf was eradicated in Colorado by trappers and hunters, with the support of the federal government. Whoops. This week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has announced the first evidence of wild wolf breeding in the state, a sign of hope for the endangered species. Read more about the discovery here.

Photo by M L on Unsplash


4. 30-year-old singer with terminal cancer amazed and inspired with her performance on America's Got Talent.

Keep Reading Show less

Everyone can all use a little lift at the end of the week, and we've collected some of this week's best stories to provide just such a pick-me-up. Here are 10 things we want to share, just because they made us so darn happy.

1. Introducing Lila, the U.S. Capitol Police's first emotional support dog.

After the traumatic experiences of January 6th, Capitol Police officers could definitely use some extra support. Lila, a two-year-old black lab, will now serve as the department's first full-time emotional support dog. Look at that sweet face!

2. Speaking of the Capitol, take a look at this week's gorgeous solar eclipse behind the dome.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared the stunning "ring of fire" image on Twitter. Always a treat when nature gives us a great show.


3. Colorado sees its first wild wolf pups in six decades.

In the 1940s, the gray wolf was eradicated in Colorado by trappers and hunters, with the support of the federal government. Whoops. This week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has announced the first evidence of wild wolf breeding in the state, a sign of hope for the endangered species. Read more about the discovery here.

Photo by M L on Unsplash


4. 30-year-old singer with terminal cancer amazed and inspired with her performance on America's Got Talent.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."