Obama: Trump’s Coronavirus Response Has Been an ‘Absolute Chaotic Disaster’

Obama: Trump’s Coronavirus Response Has Been an ‘Absolute Chaotic Disaster’

Former President Barack Obama on Friday talked with ex-members of his administration about the upcoming election, the coronavirus pandemic, and about how “the rule of law is at risk.”

Audio of the call was obtained by Yahoo News.

“I am hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do,” Obama aded. “Whenever I campaign, I’ve always said, ‘Ah, this is the most important election,’ especially obviously when I was on the ballot, that always feels like it’s the most important election. This one — I’m not on the ballot — but I am pretty darn invested. We got to make this happen.”

Later, Obama linked the rise of right-ring governments globally to the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19.

“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” he said. “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.”

In the call, Obama also voiced concerns about the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who twice pleaded guilty in court to lying to the FBI.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed,” Obama said.

“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free, that’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.