The horrendous comments, which were confirmed to CNN by three former Obama administration officials for the call, offered the sharpest assessment of the former president about how President Donald Trump and his team had handled the deadly pandemic and why he believed Democrats had to unite behind former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Trump in November.
In a 30-minute conversation with members of the Obama Alumni Association, the former president said the response to the coronavirus outbreak served as an important reminder why strong government leadership is needed during the global crisis. The call was intended to encourage former Obama staff to become more involved in Biden’s presidential campaign.
“The upcoming elections – at every level – are very important because what we will fight is not just certain individuals or political parties,” Obama said. “What we are fighting against is a long-term trend of being selfish, of being a tribe, of being divided, and of seeing others as enemies – which has become a powerful impetus in American life.
The comment is first reported by Yahoo News
, which receives an audio recording of the call. A Obama spokesman declined to comment or elaborate on the comments of the former president.
Obama also considered the Michael Flynn case, saying Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop the criminal case against Flynn suggested “the rule of law is at risk” in the United States. Before taking office, Obama warned Trump about Flynn and asked questions about his behavior with Russia.
But Obama keeps his strongest words for the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and its world view.
“That is part of the reason why the response to the global crisis is so weak and disorderly,” Obama said. “That would be bad even with the best of the government. This has been a very chaotic disaster when that mindset – from ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to joking with others’ – when that mindset is operationalized in our government.”
He added: “That’s why, I will, however, spend as much time as needed and campaign as hard as I can for Joe Biden.”
After officially supporting Biden last month, Obama said he would be heavily involved in the campaign to help Biden win the White House. His statement on Friday night was the latest example of that effort, telling the Obama Alumni group: “I hope you all feel the same sense of urgency that I do.”