Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) slammed former President Barack Obama over his “classless” criticism against President Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying he “should have kept his mouth shut.”
“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut. You know, we know he doesn’t like much this administration is doing, that’s understandable,” McConnell said to Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump during an online Team Trump campaign live stream Monday evening. “But I think it’s a little bit classless frankly to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot. You were there for eight years.”
The Senate Majority Leader’s remarks come after Obama described Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, “an absolute chaotic disaster.” In a leaked audio Friday night of the private phone call, Obama launched a scathing attack on his predecessor to encourage former members of his administration to rally behind former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“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,” the former president said. “It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty.”
“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,” Obama added. “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.”
McConnell said that Obama should have followed the lead of both former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush who “kept their mouths shut” after leaving office because they knew it was inappropriate to “critique” their successors.
“I think the tradition that the Bushes set up of not critiquing the president who comes after you is a good tradition,” McConnell said. “Generally, former presidents just don’t do that. I remember 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 a president of another party.”