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,” Mr. Obama said in an address streamed online. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
It was one of his few public addresses to a national audience during the outbreak, and he said a leadership void had created a clear mandate for the graduates:
“If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” he said.
Barack Obama, president
More excerpts from Washington Post: Obama Says U.S. Lacks Leadership on Virus in Virtual Commencement Speech, Audra D. S. Burch and May 16, 2020
Since leaving office three years ago, Mr. Obama generally has avoided publicly criticizing Mr. Trump. But his jabs at the pandemic response could further inflame tensions between the two most recent occupants of the White House.
Mr. Obama called the current administration’s response to the pandemic “anemic and spotty” in a private call last week with thousands of supporters who had worked for him.
“It would have been bad even with the best of governments,” Mr. Obama said on the call.
“It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mind-set — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mind-set is operationalized in our government.”