FORMER US President Barack Obama has launched a scathing assessment of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition, a two-hour online event for historically black colleges and universities broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, Obama told graduates some of the officials overseeing things in the White House “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”.
The ex-President, who preceded Donald Trump in office, surprised many with his remarks which touched on politics and the potential social and economic impacts of the virus.
“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,” he said.
“A lot them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
Obama did not go as far as naming Trump or any other federal or state officials in his message.
He did, however, comment on the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a father and son while jogging, unarmed, in a residential street in Georgia back in February.
“Let’s be honest: a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communicates have historically had to deal with in this country,” Obama 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 questioning.”
The main focus of the televised prime-time commencement address for the high school Class of 2020 remained the new crop of young graduates.
Address these young adults directly, he called on them to be unafraid despite the challenges facing America and to strive to be part of a diverse community.
“Leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us — sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed — and set the world on a different path,” he said.