Obama slams Trump response to coronavirus as 'chaotic disaster'
Former United States President Barack Obama has reportedly described President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic as "an absolute chaotic disaster", Trend reports citing Al Jazeera.
Obama has largely kept out of the fray even as Trump has blamed him and his Democratic administration for a variety of problems related to having sufficient supplies to battle the pandemic.
But in his call on Friday with 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association, people who served in his administration, Obama reportedly urged his supporters to get behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is trying to unseat Trump in the November election.
"This election that's coming up on every level is so important because what we're going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party. 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. And by the way, we're seeing that internationally as well," Obama was cited as saying in the private call according to Yahoo News, which said it obtained a tape of the call on Friday.
"It's part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anaemic and spotty. 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 operationalised in our government.
"That's why, I, by the way, am going to be spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can for Joe Biden," he said.
The United States by far leads the world in the number of coronavirus infections, at nearly 1.3 million, and deaths, with more than 78,000.
Trump has been criticised as essentially abdicating any leadership role in guiding the country through one of its worst crises in a century, leaving states on their own to grapple with the pandemic and even bid against each other to obtain critical medical equipment on the open market or abroad.
Critics say Trump, after first downplaying the threat posed by the virus, squandered precious time in February as the pathogen spread in America and his administration did little to stock up on testing kits and other medical gear or to develop a cohesive national strategy.
With an eye to re-election, the president has also been blasted as putting his own political interests before human life by aggressively pushing states to reopen their devastated economies without a clear blueprint for how to do it safely.
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Trump's response to the coronavirus "has been unprecedented" and has saved American lives.