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Mitch McConnell calls Obama "classless" for criticizing Trump's handling of coronavirus pandemic

Late last week, former President Obama broke his silence on the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it an "an absolute chaotic disaster." Afterward, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement arguing that President Trump's "coronavirus response has been unprecedented and saved American lives." Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has weighed in. And rather than focusing his comments on defending the current president, he took aim at the former one, stating that "President Obama should've kept his mouth shut."

"You know, generally, former presidents just don't do that," McConnell told President Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, during an interview streamed live by the Trump campaign Monday night. "I remember President George W. Bush and his father went right through eight years of Democratic administrations after they left office and kept their mouths shut because they didn't feel it was appropriate for former presidents to critique even the president of another party."

"I think it's a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you," he added. "You had your shot. You were there for eight years. I think the tradition that the Bushes set up — of not critiquing the president who comes after you — is a good tradition."

Mr. Obama made the remark during a private call on Friday with past members of his administration. He acknowledged that the response to the coronavirus "would have been bad even with the best of governments." 

But he suggested it's been made worse because of the "mindset of 'what's in it for me' and 'to heck with everybody else'" that he believes has been "operationalized in our government." The former president said that's why he plans on campaigning as hard as he can for Joe Biden.

"This election that's coming up on every level is so important because what we're going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party," Mr. Obama said. "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. And by the way, we're seeing that internationally as well. 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."

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