Former President Barack Obama took a jab at the U.S. government on Saturday over its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Obama said during a virtual commencement speech for historically black colleges and universities, without naming specific officials.
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“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he added.
In a virtual commencement speech for the high school class of 2020 hours later, Obama said “the world is turned upside down” by the pandemic and that it “has shaken up the status quo and laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems — from massive economic inequality to ongoing racial disparities to a lack of basic health care.”
“If we’re going to save the environment and defeat future pandemics, then we’re going to have to do it together,” he noted.
“Leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us – sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed – and set the world on a different path.”
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More than 1.46 million people in the United States have infected with the coronavirus, with at least 88,754 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University on Saturday. Both numbers are far higher than those in any other country or region.
The current administration of the United States has aggressively defended its handling of the public health crisis, while critics have pointed out that its leaders and some officials ignored early warnings, were slow to act and not responding adequately, and tried to politicize the situation to shift blames.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, in a statement on Saturday, said that President Donald Trump’s response against the coronavirus “has saved lives.”
McEnany also accused Obama, Trump’s predecessor, of leaving a depleted stockpile.
Obama, a Democrat, served as the 44th U.S. president from 2009 to 2017.
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