Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE (R-Ky.) after he said that former President Obama should have held back from criticizing President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I'm sure Mitch is aware that a grown ass black man who happens to be a former president has agency to speak his mind on how his successor is managing this crisis, especially since his successor has yet to keep ‘his mouth shut' about him,’ ” Steele said. “And ‘classless’?” 

McConnell criticized Obama during an online Trump campaign event Monday. The president’s daughter-in-law Lara TrumpLara Lea TrumpHarris pick reignites fight for female voters When will telling the truth in politics matter again? Trump: Election results could be delayed by months MORE told the Kentucky lawmaker that Obama “slammed” President Trump's response amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut. You know, we know he doesn't like much this administration is doing. That's understandable. But I think it's a little bit classless frankly to critique an administration that comes after you," McConnell said Monday.

"You had your shot. You were there for eight years. I think the tradition that the Bushes set up of not critiquing the president who comes after you is a good tradition," McConnell added. 

McConnell said Obama should follow former President George W. Bush’s lead, who has sidestepped politics since the end of his final term. McConnell said Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, "kept their mouths shut" after leaving office and did not think it was "appropriate" to criticize a later president.

Neither Lara Trump nor McConnell said which comments from Obama they were referring to specifically. 


During a private phone call Friday night with his former aides, Obama criticized the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, calling it an “absolute chaotic disaster.” 

"This election that's coming up — on every level — is so important because what we're going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party," Obama said, CNN confirmed. "What we're fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life."

"It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty," Obama continued, CNN reported. "It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else' ... is operationalized in our government." 


The comments were first reported by Yahoo News, which obtained an audio recording of the call. 

Obama has rarely weighed in on politics since leaving office, including commenting on the Trump administration. But last month, he appeared to take a shot at the White House on Twitter, sharing that, “While we continue to wait for a coherent national plan to navigate this pandemic, states like Massachusetts are beginning to adopt their own public health plans to combat this virus—before it's too late.”