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Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.

What he's saying: "What's his closing argument? That people are too focused on COVID. He said this at one of his rallies —'COVID, COVID, COVID,' he's complaining," Obama said.

  • "He's jealous of COVID's media coverage. If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases wouldn't be reaching new record highs across the country this week."
  • "If we were focused on COVID now, the White House wouldn't be having its second outbreak in a month. ... He's turned the White House into a hot zone."

The big picture: Obama, one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, has been out campaigning for Biden in the final stretch of the election season. He urged Floridians on Tuesday to "reclaim" American values like democracy, science and tolerance by voting Trump out of office.

  • "Joe and Kamala, when they're in office, you're not going to have to think about them every single day," Obama said at one point.
  • "You're not going to have to worry about what crazy things they're going to say, what they're going to tweet. They're just going to be too busy doing the work."
  • "You'll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president's not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world."

The other side: Trump tweeted as Obama was speaking, "Now @FoxNews is playing Obama’s no crowd, fake speech for Biden, a man he could barely endorse because he couldn’t believe he won. Also, I PREPAID many Millions of Dollars in Taxes."

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

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