Obama says coronavirus has exposed lack of leadership in US
During a virtual commencement speech for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) Saturday, former President Barack Obama said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed a lack of leadership in the U.S. government.
“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said, without naming specific officials.
“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he added.
— UNCF (@UNCF) May 16, 2020
The criticism comes as Democrats have routinely slammed the administration’s response to the pandemic over lack of medical supplies and conflicting messages to the public coming from key public health officials and members of the president’s staff, including Trump himself.
Obama has stayed relatively silent since leaving office in 2017 and has rarely directly criticized the Trump administration.
However, Obama reportedly called Trump’s response to the pandemic “anemic and spotty” and an “absolute chaotic disaster” in a private call last week with former staffers.
“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said. “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.”
President Trump and his allies in the Senate have also begun pushing probes into the actions of the Obama administration after a declassified document released this week showed that several of the former president’s administration officials called for former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s “unmasking.”
Trump and his allies claim that these officials sought to torpedo Trump before he took office in January 2017.