'Man, that's shady': Obama slams Georgia’s GOP senators for their coronavirus response

At a campaign event for Joe Biden in Atlanta on Monday, former President Barack Obama criticized Georgia’s Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are up for reelection, for their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Video Transcript

BARACK OBAMA: You have two extraordinary candidates in John and the Reverend who deserve your vote. And let's face it, you've also got two senators who badly need to be replaced. Look, I served in the Senate. I remember when we used to get briefings in the Senate for threats, that including the kinds of briefings that your two current senators got about COVID-19. They got briefed.

You know, you go into this room, and it's all top secret, and you got to kind of close everything off. And you know, you can't take anything out of the briefing room, because this is part of your responsibility as a public servant. And the point of these briefings is so that you can take quick action to protect the American people before it's too late.

That's why the Senate gets these special briefings, to serve the interests of the people who have sent you to Washington, to serve their interests before your own. When I heard that your two Senators here in Georgia-- and understand what I'm about to say now is not a partisan statement. I'd be just as hard, if I heard a Democrat was doing this.

Your two senators publicly were telling you that the virus would be no big deal. But behind closed doors, they were making a bunch of moves in the stock market to try to make sure their portfolios were protected, instead of making sure you were protected. Man, that's shady. That's-- I mean that's-- that ain't right.

They downplayed the pandemic in public, and in private, they were trying to see if they can profit from it, both of them, not just one of them, both of them. They're like Batman and Robin gone bad. And it's like the dynamic duo of doing wrong.

I don't know what they were thinking. But Georgia, I promise you, Georgia was definitely not on their mind. It was not. And what's the result of betraying the public's trust? 230,000 Americans are dead. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed. Almost 200,000 jobs are gone in Georgia alone.

If President Trump and your Senators had been focused on COVID from the beginning, instead of their portfolios or their TV ratings, cases wouldn't be reaching new record highs across the country just this week, nine months into the pandemic. America just had the single worst week of new cases.

Think about that. All the people who voluntarily quarantined, all the folks who've been working at home, all the mothers and fathers who've been looking after their children at home, trying to keep everybody safe, and after all that, we saw the worst week, because we had people like your two senators who were not taking it seriously.