Former President Barack Obama delivered criticism Saturday of President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a virtual commencement speech to graduates of historically black colleges and universities.
Obama did not mention Trump by name, but it was obvious he was referring to the Trump administration.
“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama told the Class of 2020. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
Obama’s comments followed his recent criticism of Trump in a recorded call to former Obama administration employees, when he described the White House’s response to the pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
During his remarks, the nation’s 44th president urged graduates to give back to their communities.
“If the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” Obama said, while also praising the graduates for completing their studies during these unprecedented times.
“You’re being asked to find your way in the world, in the middle of a devastating pandemic and a terrible recession,” he stated. “The timing is not ideal, and let’s be honest, a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country.”
“Injustice like this isn’t new,” Obama said. “What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing.”
His speech came during “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” a two-hour streaming event for graduates of 74 HBCUs across the United States.