COVID-19 exposed lack of leadership in US: Barack Obama
"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... A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” said the former US President.
Former President Barack Obama has lashed out at the US leadership over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic which has so far killed more than 88,000 people in the country.
During a two-hour virtual commencement for graduates of historically black colleges and universities that streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on Saturday, Obama said the pandemic exposed a lack of leadership in the US 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 President Donald Trump or any other official.
“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he added.
Congrats to the high school Class of 2020, as well as to the teachers, coaches, and most of all, parents and family who’ve guided you along the way. Thanks for letting me be part of your big day! pic.twitter.com/RjYvHs2BhC— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 17, 2020
While delivering a piece of advice in the second set of remarks, he also attacked “so-called grown-ups” for “why things are so screwed up.”
“Do what you think is right. Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy. That’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including with some fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way. Which is why things are so screwed up,” he told the high school graduates.
Obama said he hopes the graduates decide to ground themselves with "values that last. Like honestly, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, and respect for others.”
The former President has generally shied away from weighing in on politics or criticizing his successor since leaving office, but has more recently spoken out against the current administration’s handling of the health crisis.
Last week during a call with some 3,000 former staffers and administration officials, Obama called the administration's response to the pandemic “an absolute chaotic disaster”.
The current President has since pushed an unfounded “Obamagate” conspiracy theory on Twitter alleging Obama administration officials entrapped former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in a bid to undermine Trump’s presidency.
OBAMAGATE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2020
The criticism by the former President 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.