Barack Obama criticises Donald Trump in college commencement speech

Former US President Barack Obama has criticised US leaders overseeing the nation’s response to the coronavirus.On Saturday, he told college graduates in an online commencement address that the pandemic shows many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”Obama spoke on “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” a two-hour event for students graduating from historically black colleges and universities broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

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His remarks were unexpectedly political, given the venue, and touched on current events beyond the virus and its social and economic impacts.
“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 said.
“A lot them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
Obama did not name President Donald Trump or any other federal or state officials in his comments.

In keeping with tradition, America’s first black president has up until now avoided publicly criticising his successor, despite frequently being attacked by Trump.

But last Friday, he harshly criticised Trump’s handling of the pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster” in a call with 3000 members of his administrations obtained by Yahoo News.
The commencement remarks were the latest sign that Obama intends to play an increasingly active role in the coming election.

The former president has kept a low profile since leaving office in January 2017 and rarely speaks out publicly.

On Saturday, he also highlighted how the health crisis has underscored racial inequality in America, and expressed outrage at the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, killed on February 23 while out for a jog in Georgia.

“A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” he said.

“We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities. Just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question, and shoot him, if he doesn’t submit to their question,” he continued, without naming Arbery.

with AFP

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