After a private call where Barack Obama criticized America’s COVID-19 relief efforts was leaked, a clearly offended Sen. Mitch McConnell said the former president, who left a 69-page guide to handling a pandemic before leaving office, shouldn't comment on the current administration's troublesome handling of the coronavirus.
"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,” Obama said during a call with the Obama Alumni Association on Friday, reports Reuters.
The Kentucky Republican took part in a virtual interview with the president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, on Monday and responded to the leaked call, The Hill reported.
“I think President Obama should’ve kept his mouth shut. We know he doesn’t like much this administration is doing," McConnell said.
Obama didn't mention Trump by name, but McConnell has resigned to calling Obama classless for his criticisms of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response.
“I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,” McConnell said. “You had your shot. You were there for eight years.”
Unfazed by the senator’s rebuke, the 44th president continued poking holes at the government strategy on Wednesday, tweeting out a post that shared advice gathered from health experts in a Vox article.
“Despite all the time that’s been lost, we can still make real progress against the virus, protect people from the economic fallout, and more safely approach something closer to normal if we start making better policy decisions now,” he tweeted.
Despite all the time that’s been lost, we can still make real progress against the virus, protect people from the economic fallout, and more safely approach something closer to normal if we start making better policy decisions now.https://t.co/pfokyI8GiB
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 13, 2020
On the other hand, Trump, and many of his supporters, have directly addressed Obama’s presidency as a deterrent from current national relief efforts. On Monday, Trump addressed his comments about an “Obamagate,” which right-wing allies have tied to a belief that the Obama administration tried to sabotage Trump’s presidential term.
When asked by Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker about the Mother’s Day social media posts he made disparaging Obama, Trump fired back by saying "Obamagate" was a “terrible” disgrace that happened before his time.
“Mr. President, in one of your Mother’s Day tweets, you appeared to accuse President Obama of the biggest political crime in American history. What crime exactly are you accusing President Obama of committing, and do you believe the Department of Justice should prosecute him?” Rucker asked.
“Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time … from before I even got elected. It’s a disgrace that it happened. … Some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again,” Trump responded.
"I will mandate it, if you like" — Trump tells a reporter he'll mandate that all people at nursing homes get tested for coronavirus if he likes pic.twitter.com/wXFx4enHYw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 11, 2020
In telling Obama to “keep his mouth shut,” McConnell has drawn criticism from members of his own party. The former chair of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, wrote “I'm sure Mitch is aware that a grown a*s black man who happens to be a former president has agency to speak his mind" in a tweet Monday.