Politics & Policy

‘Grossly Incompetent’: Trump Attacks Obama in Response to Criticism of His Handling of Pandemic

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Mich., December 18, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

President Trump on Sunday hit back at criticism from former president Barack Obama over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Look, he was an incompetent president,” Trump said of Obama. “That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”

In a speech to graduates of historically black colleges on Saturday, Obama leveled thinly veiled criticism at his successor.

“This pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said. The comments came after Obama termed the administration’s coronavirus response “an absolute chaotic disaster” in a call with former staffers.

The tiff follows accusations by President Trump and allies that Obama attempted to hamstring the current administration by prosecuting incoming officials on suspicion of collusion with Russia. Earlier this month the Justice Department dropped its investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, who initially pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI but later rescinded his plea.

Attorney General William Barr said he had concluded that the FBI laid a “perjury trap” for Flynn. However, Obama saw the decision as an affront to the “rule of law.”

“The fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” Obama told formal officials in a private phone call. “That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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