Former President Barack Obama was supposed to deliver an inspirational virtual commencement speech to 2020 high school graduates Saturday night during the “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” celebrity special, but took the opportunity to take potshots at the Trump administration over its coronavirus response instead.
Since entering the 2020 presidential campaign fray, Obama has defied tradition, openly attacking his successor, President Donald Trump, over perceived failures, in the service of promoting his former Vice President, Joe Biden, who will, in all likelihood, take on Trump in the 2020 presidential election. And although he didn’t mention Trump by name in his commencement speech, it’s clear where Obama was directing his criticism.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy, that’s how little kids think,” Obama said during the speech, which was simulcast on all major cable networks, as part of the star-studded graduation celebration. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grownups with fancy titles and important jobs still think that way.”
“That’s why things are so screwed up,” he added. “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.”
“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he said, blasting the White House for believing they have “all the answers” but “not even asking the right questions,” per Deadline.
Obama also seemed to take a strike at Americans looking to reopen businesses in defiance of ongoing coronavirus-related lockdowns, despite evidence that the American economy is in steep decline with more than 30 million people out of work and many businesses likely to fail, leaving his own countrymen destitute.
“Our society and our democracy only work when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other,” he said.
Obama delivered an almost identical speech earlier in the day at a separate virtual commencement, that one honoring graduates of HBCUs, or historically black colleges and universities, making Saturday night’s speech the second time in less than 24 hours that Obama took aim at the Trump administration.
Former President Obama has become the most vocal member of the Joe Biden for President campaign, serving as Biden’s attack dog in recent days, since announcing his endorsement of his own former Veep. Biden, on the contrary, has been nearly invisible, running his “virtual” presidential campaign from the confines of his basement — a strategy that has largely backfired, leaving Biden well out of the public eye, and allowing the Trump administration to define the presidential campaign’s narrative.
Trump, of course, hasn’t taken Obama’s criticism sitting down. On Saturday, the current president openly defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic on social media.
“We’ve done a GREAT job on Covid response, making all Governors look good, some fantastic (and that’s OK), but the Lamestream Media doesn’t want to go with that narrative, and the Do Nothing Dems talking point is to say only bad about ‘Trump,'” the president tweeted. “I made everybody look good, but me!”
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