Obama Says Biden, Not Trump, Knows Definition of 'Being a Man,' Touts Empathy, Community

Former President Barack Obama introduced his former vice president, Joe Biden, on-stage at a campaign rally in Flint, Michigan, where he said President Donald Trump has frayed families, divided neighbors, and hurt the American "soul."

The event in Flint marked the first time both Obama and Biden campaigned together this year, according to CNBC.

Speaking from a podium with the message, "Battle for the Soul of the Nation," Obama said Trump's behavior as president of the United States would not be accepted among every day friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers. Trump's White House predecessor told drive-in rallygoers in Flint Saturday afternoon the president's "strutting, showing off" has taught children and young Americans a warped view of what it means to "be a man," or even just a good person.

The jovial former president turned solemn as he described how Trump's insults, defensiveness and at times racist remarks are "not just a joke," they are tearing American families apart.

"He affects the way our families get along," Obama said of Trump. "It's not just a joke, it's not funny. It emboldens others to be mean, to be divisive and even racist. It frays at the fabric of all of our lives and it affects how our children see the world."

"That's why Joe talks about the soul of America, he talks about decency, kindness, empathy ... That more than anything is what separates him from his opponent. Kindness, humility, responsibility, helping somebody else out—that used to be the definition of manliness. Not strutting and showing off, acting important and bullying people," Obama said amid several minutes of withering comments about Trump's character.

"It used to be that being a man was about taking care of other people, not going around bragging, just doing the work, not looking for credit, trying to live right, passing on those values to your kids and looking out for a community, carrying your weight, giving up a little bit of what you have to help someone who may have a real need. If you elect Joe, that's what you'll see reflected from the White House."

President Obama speaks from Flint, Michigan. #MichiganForBiden pic.twitter.com/48bNBNJnrP

— MomOf4 🌊 (@NirodhaTW) October 31, 2020

Obama said Trump's projection onto young Americans has devalued what it means to be a man or a stand-up member of any community. Using his own eight years of experience as president, Obama's campaign stump speeches have reiterated that the power of the office "reveals who you are," and that Biden will put Americans above his own ego. Obama said he and Biden oversaw Michigan's manufacturing jobs increasing by 15 percent, compared to just one percent since Trump took office.

The former president also said he did not know Biden well when they were both senators before teaming up to win the White House in 2008. But since then, he has been awestruck at Biden's empathy among friends, family, kids, grandkids and strangers on the campaign trail.

Obama said Biden will work for free COVID testing, putting health care workers first, free vaccinations and an acceptance of the responsibility that comes with being president. "Trump wants to credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the coronavirus pandemic he ignored."

Obama said Biden will fight for climate change action and environmental justice, "something that is relevant to Flint, Michigan, you know something about that," a reference to the area's ongoing drinking water crisis. Obama said his administration helped create 1.5 million more jobs in Michigan during their last three years than during Trump's entire tenure. He said Biden has a plan to create one million new jobs in the state through the acceleration of electric vehicle production. And 10 million new "good, clean energy jobs" moving into the future.

The former Democratic president said Americans can breathe a sigh of relief with Biden and Kamal Harris at the helm. "You're not going to have to argue with your family every day. It won't be so exhausting, you'll be able to get on with your lives knowing the president is not suggesting bleach as a possible cure for COVID. You won't wake up in the morning and have to find out, oh newsflash, the president retweeted conspiracy theories that Navy SEALs didn't actually kill [Osama] bin Laden."

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign and the White House for additional remarks and reaction to Obama's comments.

Updated 4:02 PM ET, with additional information.

barack obama joe biden man
Former US President Barack Obama (L) joins Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign event in Flint, Michigan, on October 31, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP/Getty Images