Former President Barack Obama spoke at a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday afternoon that addressed graduates of 74 historically black colleges and universities across America, The Washington Post reported. At one point, Obama took the opportunity to take a veiled jab at Donald Trump and his administration's leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"You're being asked to find your way in the world in the middle of a devastating pandemic and terrible recession," Obama said of the crisis and the resulting economic damage it has wreaked on the United States economy. "The timing is not ideal," he added.
Obama continued to note that diseases such as COVID-19 highlight the "underlying inequalities and extra burdens" historically experienced by black communities in the country. He pointed to the reportedly disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on communities of color and referenced the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery before turning his attention to Trump and his administration.
"More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that the folks in charge know what they're doing. A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge. "Obama claimed that the graduates are part of a generation that realizes that the "status quo" is in need of repair and understands that the "old ways of doing things" are no longer effective. He promoted a message of unity and empathy for others — things he suggested are vital to American society and democracy. As reported by CNBC, Obama's veiled attack on Trump comes after reports of a private phone call in which he allegedly called the president's response to the coronavirus an "absolute chaotic disaster." Conversely, Trump has blamed the Obama administration for various parts of the current pandemic response, including a lack of tests and the absence of a vaccine.
"Because we were given a — a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time," Trump said of his administration's response after shirking responsibility for its purported failures.
The former president's comments come after facing a series of attacks from Trump over the past week. As The Inquisitr reported, some pundits believe that Trump's fixation on Obama stems from the discrepancy in the respect each of them receives. As noted by Matthew Miller, the former director of the office of public affairs at the Justice Department, Obama often receives praise for his leadership from Americans and others around the world — something Miller believes gets under Trump's skin.