Obama slams Trump

The Advertiser - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON: For­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama harshly crit­i­cised Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s han­dling of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic as an “ab­so­lute chaotic dis­as­ter” dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with exmem­bers of his ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to a record­ing ob­tained by Ya­hoo News.

Mr Obama, pic­tured, also re­acted to the Jus­tice Depart­ment drop­ping its crim­i­nal case against Mr Trump’s first na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Michael Flynn, say­ing he wor­ried that the “ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of rule of law is at risk”.

More than 78,400 peo­ple with COVID-19 have died in the US and more than 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple have tested pos­i­tive, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est es­ti­mates from the Cen­tre for Sys­tems Science and En­gi­neer­ing at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity. Mr Obama’s com­ments came dur­ing a call on Fri­day with 3000 mem­bers of the Obama Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, peo­ple who served in his ad­min­is­tra­tion. Mr Obama urged his sup­port­ers to back his for­mer vi­cepres­i­dent, Joe Bi­den, who is try­ing to un­seat Mr Trump in the Novem­ber 3 elec­tion.

“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. And by the way, we’re see­ing that in­ter­na­tion­ally as well. It’s part of the rea­son why the re­sponse to this global cri­sis has been so anaemic and spotty,” Mr Obama said, ac­cord­ing to Ya­hoo News.

“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’ - when that mind­set is op­er­a­tionalised in our gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Mr Trump has con­sis­tently de­fended and boasted of his re­sponse to the virus, say­ing that travel restric­tions from China and Europe as well as so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines have pre­vented far greater dam­age. “I think we saved mil­lions of lives,” he said ear­lier this week.

Mr Obama has gen­er­ally kept a low pro­file on cur­rent po­lit­i­cal events, even when Mr Trump would dis­par­age him or his ad­min­is­tra­tion on Twit­ter. But Fri­day’s call in­di­cates that he’ll be play­ing an ac­tive role in the com­ing elec­tion.

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