With Hillary Clinton sidelined by pneumonia, President Barack Obama took up the Democrats’ fight against Donald Trump on Tuesday, trying to quash the Republican presidential candidate’s bid to appeal to working-class voters.
Obama, whose 50 percent job approval rating could help improve the climate for the Democratic ticket in the Nov. 8 election, rallied party faithful against Trump, the 70-year-old New York real estate developer, at an outdoor event in Philadelphia.
“This is a guy who spent 70 years on this earth showing no concern for working people. He spent most of his life trying to stay far away from working people. He wasn’t going to let you on his golf course,” Obama said.
Obama’s campaign appearance was his first as a solo act on behalf of Clinton as he tries to ensure Democrats retain control of the White House once his eight years are over in January.
The president lauded new census numbers on income growth as proof that his administration’s policies have helped improve the economy, an attempt to undermine Trump’s argument that economic woes are deep.
“By so many measures, America is stronger and more prosperous than when we started out on this journey together,” Obama said.
Clinton, who was Obama’s secretary of state during his first term, rested at her home in the New York City suburb of Chappaqua, as she recovers from pneumonia. She was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday but she kept it secret until she nearly collapsed on Sunday at a ceremony in Manhattan marking the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
She is to return to the campaign trail on Thursday, her spokesman Nick Merrill said Tuesday evening.
Her campaign said in a statement that she will deliver remarks in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday and “discuss her vision for an America that is stronger together.”
The “deplorables” comment featured at a Trump rally in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday night that saw a resumption of some of the violence that disrupted his events earlier this year.
“Never in history has a major party presidential candidate so viciously demonized the American voter,” Trump told the crowd.
Five people, including a minor, were arrested at the rally and charged with crimes including second degree trespassing and fighting in public, Asheville police said.
A man grabbed an anti-Trump protester’s neck and punched him during the rally, video from NBC and ABC showed. Police said they also obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect in that incident.