Former President Barack Obama is evidently among the many Americans who are fed up by the stumbling Coronavirus response from the Trump administration. During a conference call this week with members of the Obama Alumni Association, which includes individuals who have worked for the Obama team at some point during the former president’s time in public office, Obama denounced the current administration’s Coronavirus response as an “absolute chaotic disaster.” The former president’s assessment seems well-supported by the facts — over 78,000 Americans and counting have died from the Coronavirus.
The chaos in the Trump White House has reached such a fever pitch that the answers to basic questions of who’s in charge of response have often been elusive. Recently, for example, the Trump team announced they’d be winding down the Coronavirus task force by around the end of May — and then, after criticism, Trump announced that actually, the task force would be continuing indefinitely. The president has remained focused on his public image.
‘What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy, that has become a stronger impulse in American life. It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. 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.’
To suggest that self-centeredness has taken deep root within the current administration would be an understatement, at best. At the height of the pandemic, as large numbers of Americans have died each and every day due to the Coronavirus, Trump has focused on topics like the television ratings for his Coronavirus-oriented White House press conferences.
Going forward, Obama has already endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, in the race to unseat Trump. Biden, as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has also garnered the endorsements of many other prominent Democrats. Biden seems well-positioned to take on Trump — turnout soared past 2016 levels in Democratic presidential primary elections held pre-pandemic, and Biden consistently leads against Trump in polls on the national level and within swing states.
In the meantime, Obama also indicated on his call with Obama alumni that he worries about the future of the rule of law in the United States in light of the personal favors that the Trump team has used the justice system for.
‘The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed, about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn. And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic, not just institutional norms, but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.’
It’s an easily very worrying trend.