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Photo: Via the Biden campaign

Former first lady Michelle Obama is making her closing argument for Joe Biden this morning, arguing that President Trump has mismanaged the pandemic while "stoking fears about Black and brown Americans."

The big picture: In a video message, the former first lady, who remains wildly popular in the Democratic party, testifies to Biden's personal qualities while sharply criticizing Trump's handling of the racial unrest that has been roiling the country.

  • Trump is "lying about how minorities will destroy the suburbs ... whipping up violence and intimidation," Obama said.
  • "So what the president is doing is, once again, patently false ... it’s morally wrong ... and yes, it is racist. But that doesn't mean it won't work." 

Why it matters: Michelle Obama motivates voters across the Democratic party and was a cut above other speakers at the Democratic convention in August, generating five times as much social interaction than any other speaker, including former President Barack Obama, according to Axios' Neal Rothschild.

Flashback: In late August when she addressed the racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Obama said there was "systemic racism" coming from both the White House and elsewhere in the country.

What she's saying: "It didn't have to be like this," Obama said about the pandemic. "So many other countries aren’t experiencing this level of extended suffering and uncertainty."

  • She called Trump "a man who knew how deadly this virus is, but who lied to us, and told us it would just disappear. Who, in the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, doubled down on division and resentment."

Go deeper

Reddit bans subreddit group "r/DonaldTrump"

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Reddit has banned the subreddit group "r/DonaldTrump," a spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: While not an official group or page hosted by the president, it's one of the company's largest political communities dedicated to support for President Trump.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 7, 2021 - World

America's global image is in tatters

Data: Pew Research Global Attitudes and Trends; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President-elect Biden declared during the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that "the world is watching." Indeed, the world was watching long before that.

Why it matters: Biden has made restoring America's global image, leadership and alliances the cornerstone of his foreign policy agenda. That was a tall order even before audiences around the world watched a mob forcefully disrupt America's democratic process.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

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