Former president Barack Obama appeared to slam the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic during a Friday night call with his former aides, according to a recording obtained by Yahoo News and confirmed by an Obama spokesperson.
The Yahoo News report said Obama “lashed out at the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as ‘an absolute chaotic disaster.’” Katie Hill, Obama’s spokeswoman, confirmed that the call occurred and “nothing in the [Yahoo] story is inaccurate.”
Obama was speaking to about 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association to touch base and rally his former staff to help elect presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and other Democrats on the ballot this fall, Hill said.
On the call, Obama said that in the upcoming election “what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party.”
“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,” he said on the call, according to the Yahoo report.
Alluding to the divisive rhetoric by the Trump White House, Obama went on to say that “the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty.”
“It would have been bad even with the best of governments,” he said. “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 operationalized in our government.”
Obama is expected to campaign heavily for his former vice president, which he confirmed on the call.
“That’s why, I, by the way, am going to be spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can for Joe Biden,” he said.