‘He was an incompetent president’: Trump lashes out at Obama after coronavirus response criticism

Oliver O'Connell
Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One after a weekend at Camp David: AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One after a weekend at Camp David: AFP via Getty Images

Returning from a weekend away at Camp David, the president, Donald Trump, was asked by reporters if he had any reaction to the criticism levelled at him on Saturday by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Mr Trump said he had not heard the comments, but said of Mr Obama: “He was an incompetent president. That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”

The president took no further questions and walked quickly into the White House, having landed only a moment before in Marine One.

On Saturday Mr Obama addressed graduates of historically black colleges and universities. He rebuked the current president for the response to the coronavirus, saying that it revealed the extent of the ineptitudes at the heart of government.

“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,” the former president said. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Mr Obama told graduates: “So, if the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.”

Earlier on Saturday, the former president gave a separate speech to high school seniors in a widely-televised and streamed virtual commencement ceremony in which he also appeared to take a swipe at Mr Trump.

“Do what you think is right,” he said. “Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy – that’s how little kids think.

Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One after a weekend at Camp David (AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Marine One after a weekend at Camp David (AFP via Getty Images)

“Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way – which is why things are so screwed up.”

On Sunday morning, White House adviser Peter Navarro also responded to the speech, saying that he was glad Mr Obama had a new job as presidential candidate Joe Biden’s press secretary, before referring to the previous administration as a “kumbaya of incompetence”.

It is the second time in as many weeks that Mr Obama has publicly criticised the current administration, after leaked audio of him calling the White House‘s response to Covid-19 an “absolute chaotic disaster” sent Mr Trump furiously seeking to manufacture a scandal in retaliation that he is referring to as “Obamagate”.

An interview with President Trump was aired by Fox News on Sunday morning that had been recorded prior to Mr Obama’s comments. Mr Trump took the opportunity to talk about the alleged scandal, which he refers to as “the greatest political scam in the history of our country”.

He told Maria Bartiromo: “It was impossible for it to happen without the man that sits right in that chair in the oval office. He knew everything.”

Ms Bartiromo asked: “Do you believe President Obama directed the US intelligence agencies to spy on you?”

The president replied: “Yes, he probably directed them, but if he didn’t direct them, he knew everything.”

It is not unusual for former presidents to criticise their successors, although Mr Trump has claimed otherwise. In the last twenty years, George W Bush and Bill Clinton have, and more historically so did Jimmy Carter and Theodore Roosevelt.

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