Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.) after he said that former President Obama should have held back from criticizing President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race 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 TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' 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.”