Over the weekend, former President Barrack Obama criticized President Donald Trump’s coronavirus response when he suggested the current administration members weren’t “even pretending to be in charge” during the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump was asked to respond to Obama’s comments by White House press reporters on Sunday, to which he called Obama “grossly incompetent.”
“Former President Obama seems to suggest you aren’t even pretending to be in charge, what’s your response?” a reporter asked.
“So I think we had a great weekend,” Trump initially replied. “We did a lot of terrific meetings, tremendous progress is being made on many fronts, including coming up with a cure for this horrible plague that has beset our country. I think a lot of things have happened. It was a working weekend, it was a good weekend.”
Pressed again to respond to the question about Obama’s remarks, Trump replied, “Look, he was an incompetent president. That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”
Trump’s brief response came after Obama gave a graduation speech to graduates of historically black colleges on Saturday and said: “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.”
Last week, Obama said during a conference call with around 3,000 former staffers, that the government had taken a “What’s in it for me?” mindset with regards to various issues. Obama suggested the Trump administration’s coronavirus response had been “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
Obama’s criticisms of the U.S. coronavirus response come as the number of cases has surpassed 1.5 million, with around 90,000 fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus case tracking map. Globally, cases have passed 4.8 million, with more than 319,000 fatalities.
Trump offered only a brief response to the controversial remarks over the weekend, though he has criticized the Obama administration in the past as incompetent.
The Trump administration has defended against criticisms it did not act quickly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including actions to block travel from China, and to establish a coronavirus response team.
While the coronavirus pandemic quickly revealed shortages for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator masks and other face masks, Trump noted the supply of PPE was largely depleted by the Obama administration and never replenished, a claim supported with a positive fact check by USA Today.
Trump has also criticized Obama-era funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which his administration has been investigating as a possible source of the virus outbreak.