By Kevin O’Malley and Corey Then
President Donald Trump has numbed the nation to the prospect of unending incompetence and scandal.
Trump profits by perpetuating chaos, and many are tempted to throw their hands up in despair. But as the coronavirus bears down on America, Trump is faced for the first time in his presidency with the possibility of a real, terrifying, bone-chilling crisis – one even he cannot blame on President Barack Obama.Trump’s answer to the possibility of a global pandemic befits his con-man presidency: “All is well, nothing to see here. Keep buying stocks! It’s the Democrats to blame!” His response is utterly lacking in substance or truth and brings into stark relief that he is small, unserious and unprepared to lead the nation through this moment.
It also reinforces how high the stakes are to elect a Democratic nominee who is competent, honest and who genuinely cares about the well-being of all Americans, regardless of whether they are black, brown or white. Regardless of whether they are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. Regardless of their economic situation, sexual orientation or geography. Regardless of any classification whatsoever. In a pandemic, we are all Americans.
Missourians have an opportunity to choose a person in the state’s March 10 primary who embodies all these qualities. Missourians also have a responsibility to look soberly at the facts and choose the candidate who can unite the party, the country, and who is the most likely to defeat Trump in November. That candidate is Vice President Joe Biden.
We may be biased after having collectively worked for more than seven years for President Obama and Vice President Biden as a U.S. Ambassador and a senior official at the White House. But our pre-disposition comes from hard won experience.
After all, the Obama-Biden administration was highly competent, scandal-free, respected around the world; it saved the country from a depression, then presided over a strong economy that created millions of good-paying jobs, especially for African-American families. And it successfully navigated numerous crises with profound implications for people’s lives – including the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which echoes the current epidemic.
Our endorsement of Biden is rooted in more than the many accomplishments of the Obama administration on behalf of the country and more specifically, the African-American community. We have both seen firsthand Biden’s impeccable character, faith, and love of family and country. Biden has fought for working people for more than 40 years. He led the passage of the Affordable Care Act, providing hope to more than 20 million people. He fought against climate change and helped pass the Paris Agreement to reduce worldwide emissions. He sponsored the Violence Against Women Act and the assault weapons ban.
And the country recognized Biden’s lifelong commitment to them on Super Tuesday by voting overwhelmingly in his favor, including handing him victory in multiple states where Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden also understands that nobody has suffered more since Trump’s election in 2016 than African-Americans, immigrants and working people, and he intends to reverse that suffering by embracing communities that have been left behind in health, wealth and education, to help them achieve the American Dream.
Put simply, Biden is a dignified human being who will bring honor and decency back to the Oval Office and never forget the people who put him there.
For these reasons, we believe that only Biden can unify the Democratic party and lead it to victory in November – not just for the White House, but also in close House and Senate races around the country. By racking up major victory after major victory over the last week, he has proven he is the one Democrat who can build a diverse coalition in every part of this nation to win back the House and Senate seats the Democrats lost in 2016.
Most important, as U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., declared when he endorsed Biden, we “can think of no one better suited, better prepared, no one with the integrity, no one more committed to the fundamental principles that make this country what it is” than Joe Biden.
Biden’s wipeout victories in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday proved his resilience and strength. It is time for all Democrats to unite behind him.
Kevin O’Malley served as President Obama’s Ambassador to Ireland from 2014 to 2017. Corey Then served for four years in the Obama administration, including as Special Assistant to the President in the White House and as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.