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US President Donald Trump lashed out at former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday after she delivered a scathing takedown of his leadership on the opening night of the Democratic convention.

“I thought it was a very divisive speech, extremely divisive,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“Frankly, I would not even be here if it wasn’t for Barack Obama,” he said. “I would be building buildings someplace and having a good time.”

In her pre-taped remarks to the convention – which has gone almost entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic – Michelle Obama urged Americans to rally behind Democrat Joe Biden, her husband Barack Obama’s former vice president, in November’s presidential election.

Biden “will tell the truth, and trust science,” she said in a jab at Trump, who has been accused of ignoring the advice of scientists on how to respond to a health crisis which has left some 170,000 Americans dead and millions without jobs. In unprecedented criticism of a sitting US president by a former first lady, she painted Trump as a man who lacks the competence, character and decency for the job.

“Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership, or consolation, or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy,” she said.

“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she said. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head.

“He cannot meet this moment.”

After a night of hard-hitting attacks on Trump from Michelle Obama, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and others, including several Republicans, the convention is to feature remarks on Tuesday by two former presidents — Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

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