Former President Barack Obama delivered stinging criticism Saturday of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a virtual commencement speech to graduates of historically black colleges and universities.
Obama did not mention Trump by name, but it was obvious who he was talking about.
“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 the Class of 2020. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
[Watch the video below]
Obama’s comments followed recent criticism of Trump in a recorded call to former Obama administration employees, when he described the White House’s response to the pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
During his remarks today, the nation’s 44th president urged graduates to give back to their communities.
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“If the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” Obama said, while also praising the graduates for completing their studies during these unprecedented times.
“You’re being asked to find your way in a world, in the middle of a devastating pandemic and a terrible recession,” he stated. “The timing is not ideal, and let’s be honest, a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country.”
Obama’s speech came during “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition,” a two-hour streaming event for graduates of 74 HBCUs across the United States.
The ceremony was hosted by Kevin Hart, and presented by Chase in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the United Negro College Fund, the National Association for Equal Opportunity, the NBA, Paul Quinn College, Howard University and JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways Initiative.
Others taking part included Common, Steve Harvey, Debbie Allen, Doug E. Fresh, Mellody Hobson, and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif), a Howard University graduate.
This evening, Obama is speaking at “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” a one-hour multimedia event hosted by XQ Institute, the LeBron James Family Foundation, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
You can watch the full “Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition” event below.
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