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Barack Obama takes a dig at Donald Trump for his response to coronavirus pandemic

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 May 2020, 10:17 IST

Former US president Barack Obama took a sly dig at his successor Donald Trump during a virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday, in rare public judgement from the former US president in the time of pandemic.

"More than anything 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 told graduates from several dozen historically black colleges and universities.

"A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge," he said as he discussed the implications of the pandemic during the online event, without naming any specific leaders.

Obama has laid low since vacating the white house in January 2017 and seldomly talks out in public.

Earlier, he also brought to the fore racial inequality in America, and expressed anger at the shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, killed on 23rd February in Georgia.

"A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country," he said.

"We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities. Just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question, and shoot him, if he doesn't submit to their question," Obama said, without naming Arbery.

The former US president will address a second ceremony later Saturday, this time a star-studded prime time event for high school students who are going to miss graduation ceremony due to coronavirus.

The commencement will have many star athletes, artists and musicians, and is being shown by major TV networks.

Due to the global health crisis, traditional American high school and college pomps, are out of the question.

As an alternative, virtual ceremonies are happening.

"I've always loved joining commencements -- the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice," Obama wrote on Twitter.

However, earlier this month, in remarks leaked from a web call with people who worked in his administration, he dubbed Donald Trump’s dealing of the situation a catastrophe.

"It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset -- of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else' -- when that mindset is operationalized in our government," Obama said in that call.

The United States leads the world with coronavirus cases and deaths, at 1.4 million and nearly 90,000, respectively.

Also Read: Donald Trump once again lashes out at China over its failure to contain coronavirus

First published: 17 May 2020, 10:17 IST