Obama labels Trump’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic a ‘chaotic disaster’

Former US president urges supporters to get behind presidential candidate Joe Biden

Former US president Barack Obama described president Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic as "chaotic" in a conference call with former members of his administration, a source said on Saturday.

Mr Obama has largely kept out of the fray on the issue, even as Mr Trump has blamed him and his Democratic administration for a variety of problems related to having sufficient supplies to battle the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 77,000 Americans.

But in his call on Friday with 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association, a group of people who served in his administration, Mr Obama urged his supporters to get behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is trying to unseat Mr Trump in the November 3rd election.

The contents of the call were first reported by Yahoo News. A source familiar with the call confirmed them to Reuters.


Mr Obama said the election “is so important because what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party.

“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.”

He said these trends are one reason why “the response to this global crisis has been so anemic 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 operationalised 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 said.

Mr Obama’s office declined to comment.

National polls show a tight race between Mr Trump and Mr Biden with six months to go until the election. However, Mr Biden leads in several battleground states. – Reuters