Obama’s speech: the former president criticizes the leadership on the response to the coronavirus, provides three tips

Obama: So many folks in charge don't know what they're doing

Obama criticized the management of the coronavirus pandemic without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, only a week after privately criticizing the administration’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.
“This pandemic has completely, finally torn the curtain on the idea that so many insiders know what they are doing. Many of them are not even pretending to be in charge,” said the 44th President during a virtual start address for historically black colleges and universities.

“If the world improves, it will depend on you,” he added.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday touted Trump’s work, saying in a statement to CNN that “the unprecedented response of President Trump’s coronavirus has saved lives.”

Obama then later on Saturday night, during the special “Graduates together” hosted by LeBron James, said: “You know, all those adults you thought were responsible and knew what they were doing, it turns out that they don’t have all the answers. Many of them don’t they don’t even ask the right questions. “

CNN previously reported that Obama had privately criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis as “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a phone call earlier this month with former administration employees and alums.

The impact of coronavirus on color communities

During his message to HBCU graduates, Obama also talked about how the pandemic disproportionately affected black communities.

“A disease like this only highlights the inequalities and additional burdens that black communities have historically faced in this country. We see this in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities,” he said during the “Show Me Your Walk” program. virtual start.

“Just as we see it when a black man goes jogging and some people feel they can stop and ask questions and shoot them if they don’t ask their questions. Injustice like this isn’t new,” Obama said, referring to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man in Georgia.

Obama, who was a former civil rights attorney and community organizer before running for political office, also gave three tips to the graduate class to “make a change”.

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“No generation has been better positioned to be warriors for justice and remake the world,” Obama said.

He encouraged HBCU graduates to get organized at a grassroots level (and not just to resort to online activism), to grow allies in the struggle for a common cause, and to remember “now you are all role models, whether you like it or not. no. “

“Your participation in this democracy, your courage to defend what’s right, your willingness to create coalitions, these actions will speak volumes,” he said. “And if you’re inactive, this will also speak volumes.”

Three tips for the 2020 class

The ex president, in the second virtual graduation ceremony, gave three tips to this year’s students: don’t be afraid, do what you think is right and build a community.

“America has gone through difficult times before … and every time we came out stronger, usually because of a new generation, young people like you have learned from past mistakes and figured out how to improve things”, he said.

Speaking of doing what you think is right, Obama said in part: “I hope that … you decide to take root in lasting values, such as honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others. You have won ‘every time you do it well, you will make mistakes like all of us, but if you listen to the truth that is within you, even when it is difficult, even when it is uncomfortable, people will notice. . you will be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. “

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Finally, on building a community, the former president said: “Nobody does great things alone … … if we want to save the environment and defeat future pandemics, then we will have to do it together.

“Defending each other’s rights. Leaving behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us – sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed – and setting the world on a different path,” he added.

Obama ended his comments with “Congratulations, born in 2020. Continue to make us proud”.

CNN’s Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.

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