Obama Says White House Response to Coronavirus Was “Absolute Chaotic Disaster”

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden stands in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.
The burning comments, confirmed to CNN by three former Obama administration officials during the call, offered the harshest assessment to date of the former president on how President Donald Trump and his team managed the deadly pandemic and why he thinks the Democrats should rally behind former Vice President Joe Biden will beat Trump in November.

In a 30-minute conversation with members of the Obama Alumni Association, the former president said that the response to the coronavirus epidemic had served as a critical reminder of why strong government leadership is needed during a global crisis. The call was intended to encourage former Obama staff to become more involved in Biden’s presidential campaign.

“This election that is being prepared – at all levels – is so important because what we are going to fight will not be just an individual or a political party,” said Obama. “What we are fighting against are these long-term trends in which to be selfish, to be tribal, to be divided and to see others as an enemy – it has become a stronger impetus in American life.”

Comments were first reported by Yahoo News, who obtained an audio recording of the call. An Obama spokesperson declined to comment or expand on the former president’s remarks.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany rejected Obama’s criticism on Saturday, saying in a statement to CNN: “President Trump’s response to the coronavirus has been unprecedented and has saved American lives.”

The White House did not respond to Obama’s comments on the Justice Department’s decision to drop the charges against Michael Flynn.
Weighing in on the appeal, Obama said Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop the criminal case against Flynn suggested that “the rule of law is in danger” in the United States. Before taking office, Obama warned Trump about Flynn and raised questions about his conduct with Russia.
But Obama has kept his strongest words for the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and its worldview.

“This is part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and uneven,” said Obama. “It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It was an absolute and chaotic disaster when this state of mind – of” what I get out of it “and” heckling with everyone “- when this state of spirit is operationalized in our government. “

He added, “That’s why, by the way, I’m going to spend as much time as I need to and campaign as hard as I can for Joe Biden.”

After officially endorsing Biden last month, Obama has said he will be deeply involved in the campaign to help Biden win the White House. His remarks on Friday evening were the latest example of this effort, saying to the Obama alumni group, “I hope you all feel the same sense of urgency as I do.”

This story was updated with the White House’s response to Obama’s comments.

CNN’s Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.


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