The comments were made on a 30-minute private phone call between the former president and members of the Obama Alumni Association, according to Yahoo News, which obtained audio from the conversation.
Mr Obama was using the phone call to encourage members of the Association to become more active in former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The former president then shared his thoughts about how the Trump administration has handled the public health crisis.
“And by the way, we’re seeing that internationally as well. 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 operationalized in our government,” Mr Obama said.
“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 added.
His comments against Donald Trump and the administration are one of the most critical yet, showing the more active role Mr Obama might play as the presidential election nears.
Last month, Mr Obama endorsed his former vice president after he became the assumed Democratic Party nominee for the 2020 election.