‘Not even pretending to be in charge’: Obama criticises US response to coronavirus

Barack Obama has criticised the US response to the coronavirus pandemic, without naming Donald Trump or any other officials.

In a livestreamed event, President Obama told college graduates that the COVID-19 outbreak showed many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”.

His comments were made during Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition, a two-hour event for historically black colleges and universities which was broadcast on social media.

“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,” he said.

“A lot them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he added.

US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci spoke about the dangers of reopening the economy too quickly.

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The US has become the global epicentre of the pandemic, with more than 1.49 million confirmed cases and over 89,000 deaths.

The 44th president congratulated the graduates and commiserated with them over the difficult world they faced.

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He noted the shooting of Ahmed Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, who was killed while jogging through a residential street in Florida.

A former police officer and his adult son have been charged with murder following the killing.

Coronavirus: America's Reckoning

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“Let’s be honest,” said Mr Obama. “A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communicates have historically had to deal with in this country.

“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 questioning.”

Mr Obama is also going to deliver a commencement address for the high school Class of 2020, in an hour-long televised event which will also feature LeBron James and Malala Yousafzai.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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