A recent phone conversation reportedly captured former President Barack Obama vocalizing criticism of Donald Trump‘s administration amid the coronavirus pandemic and it’s “irking” the president and his Republican allies, The Hill reported.
“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of Obama’s criticism of the Trump administration’s pandemic response.
“I don’t think he [Obama] has much to say because there wasn’t much put in place,” Republican Senator Mike Braun said, likely referring to reports of the Obama administration’s failures in regards to pandemic preparedness.
As reported by Politico, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow expressed bewilderment at the former president’s alleged criticism of the Trump administration’s purportedly chaotic response to COVID-19. Although Kudlow admitted the response hasn’t been perfect, he pointed to the recent relief packages as evidence of their successful approach to the virus.
Obama’s comments on the Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, also appear to have ruffled some feathers.
“I think that what I’m more interested in is all the news that came out about Obamagate…. I think he’s going to be thrown into the conversation,” Braun said.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley took things a step further and claimed the former president was involved in the investigation of Flynn and subsequent charges.
“It’s pretty clear that Obama had his fingers in this…. And the Flynn problems were part of an effort that — the Democrats actually thought that they could cut short this presidency by probably three and a half years.”
GOP Senator Rand Paul echoed Grassley and said he believes Obama was “directly involved” with the Flynn case.
Others were less bothered by reports of the comments, which run contrary to the precedent set by former President George W. Bush. Republican Senators Kevin Cramer and John Coryn expressed indifference. Notably, Coryn expressed his belief that Obama has the right to express his opinions as much as those who disagree with him.
In a leaked phone call to former staffers, Barack Obama describes the U.S. response to the coronavirus crisis as an "absolute chaotic disaster." pic.twitter.com/aDebo1OKlT
— Brut America (@brutamerica) May 10, 2020
Before the recently reported conversation, Obama took aim at Trump and the GOP in his endorsement video of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Business Insider reported. Although the former president avoided directly naming Trump, he used the 12-minute video to highlight Trump and the Republican Party’s attacks on Obamacare as well as their focus on tax cuts for the wealthy. He suggested that Trump and the GOP run contrary to the value of government, the rule of law, and honest leadership that seeks to inform as opposed to divide the public.