'Not even pretending to be in charge': Obama criticises US leadership's handling of COVID-19

Washington D.C. [USA], May 17 (ANI): Former US president Barack Obama on Saturday criticised the nation's leadership for bungling their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing them in twin commencement addresses of not "even pretending" to be in charge and asking the wrong questions.

The comments came in a speech to high school graduates of 74 historically black colleges and universities across the United States. Obama did not mention his successor, President Trump, by name. But the comments echoed criticism of the Trump administration that Obama leveled last month in a video endorsement of former vice president Joe Biden, The Washington Post reported.

Obama said then that the pandemic had shown that "having leaders who are informed and honest and seek to bring people together" matters, the media reported.

"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 college and university graduates on Saturday.

"A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge," he added.

In the speech to high school students, he went further by adding it has revealed not only that many adults lack the right answers, they are not even asking the right questions.

"Do what you think is right," Obama told the students.

"Doing what feels good, what's convenient, what's easy -- that's how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way -- which is why things are so screwed up," he stressed further.

Obama also mentioned racial, gender and economic inequity in both addresses, saying the current economic and health crises had revealed much about the country.

Hours later, he appeared in a program for graduating high school seniors broadcast by the major television networks.

After largely avoiding the spotlight for the last three years, Obama has promised to play a more prominent public role in the coming months as a campaign surrogate for Biden. Trump has also sought to elevate Obama back into the public conversation by highlighting the role his administration played in reviewing foreign intelligence intercepts after the 2016 election that picked up Trump's future national security adviser speaking by phone with the Russian ambassador.

Obama has declined to respond directly to those attacks from Trump, posting a tweet instead Thursday with a single word: "Vote."

On June 6, the former president is once again scheduled to deliver a third address to graduating students across the world in another simulcast event, joined by former first lady Michelle Obama for a global virtual commencement celebration. (ANI)