Barack Obama has taken aim at President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a video message.
In a rare public criticism, the former US President gave a thinly veiled assessment of his successor’s record, suggesting that he is not “even pretending” to be in charge.
In a speech broadcast to high school and college graduates across the nation, Obama said the pandemic has “pulled back the curtain” on a “hard truth”.
“All those adults we used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing – it turns out they don’t have all the answers,” he said.
“A lot of them aren’t even asking the right questions.”
Although the former US President does not mention Trump by name, he lambasts adults with “fancy titles and important jobs” for behaving like “little kids”, in an online graduation address.
He continued: “Do what you think is right.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think.
“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.”
The United States is now the country worst-hit by the global coronavirus pandemic by some distance, with 1.5m confirmed infections.
A total of 90,113 Americans have lost their lives to the deadly virus.
Mr Obama also spoke of how the public health emergency means that young Americans would “have to grow up faster than some generations”.
“This pandemic has shaken up the status quo and laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems,” he added.
“From massive economic inequality to ongoing racial disparities to a lack of basic healthcare for people who need it.
“It’s woken a lot of young people up to the fact that the old ways of doing things just don’t work.
“That it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick and that our society and our democracy only work when we think not just about ourselves but about each other.
“With all the challenges this country faces right now nobody can tell you no you’re too young to understand or this is how this has always been done,” he added.
Mr Obama has previously described Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as a “chaotic disaster”.
He made the comments during a private call with 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association – former members of his administration – last Saturday.
In the 30-minute conversation, the former president said the response to the coronavirus outbreak served as a critical reminder for why strong government leadership is needed during a global crisis.
The call was meant to encourage his supporters to get behind Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is trying to unseat Trump in the November 3 election.
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.”