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‘Obama should have kept his mouth shut’: McConnell calls former president’s criticism of Trump’s coronavirus response ‘classless’


‘Obama should have kept his mouth shut’: McConnell calls former president’s criticism of Trump’s coronavirus response ‘classless’

‘Obama should have kept his mouth shut’: McConnell calls former president’s criticism of Trump’s coronavirus response ‘classless’

'Obama should have kept his mouth shut': McConnell calls former president's criticism of Trump's coronavirus response 'classless' 1

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader and a close ally to Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, slammed former President Barack Obama for his reported criticism of the White House administration’s response to the pandemic.

The Kentucky senator shot back at the former president in an interview with “Team Trump Online!”, a YouTube series hosted by Mr Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, calling Mr Obama’s comments “classless” and saying he “should have kept his mouth shut” about the administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

He spoke after Mr Obama described the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 as an “absolute chaotic disaster” during a private phone call with his former White House aides — a rare rebuke from the former president that was later reported by multiple outlets.


“You know, we know he doesn’t like much (what this) administration is doing, that’s understandable,” Mr McConnell told Lara Trump, a daughter-in-law to the president and senior adviser to his campaign, “but I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”

He added: “Generally former presidents just don’t do that.”

Mr McConnell was referring to remarks the former president made in his Friday phone call with the Obama Alumni Association. Mr Obama conducted the call as part of an effort to engage his former staff with former Vice President Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign, according to CNN.

On the phone call, Mr Obama said the upcoming election was important “on every level” because “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”.

Yahoo News was the first to report on the former president’s comments after obtaining an audio recording of the conversation.

“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Mr Obama added. “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 operationalized in our government.”

Mr Obama, who has endorsed his former vice president in his bid for the Democratic nomination, has only occasionally spoken out against the current administration’s agenda. He previously condemned Mr Trump’s travel restrictions aimed at several Muslim-majority countries, as well as his administration’s efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme created under his tenure in the Oval Office.

Mr Trump has attacked his predecessor far more frequently, repeatedly tweeting out claims he was involved in some form an apparent conspiracy he called “Obamagate” on Twitter. The president declined to provide supporting information about what he was referring to during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden on Monday afternoon.

“Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time,” the president claimed. “It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened.”

Mr Obama told his supporters he would become heavily invested in the former vice president’s campaign in the coming months, saying on Friday: “I am hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do.”


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