Former United States President Barack Obama has criticised leaders overseeing the nation’s response to the coronavirus, telling college graduates in an online commencement address the pandemic shows many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”.
Mr Obama spoke on Show Me Your Walk — a two-hour event for students graduating from historically black colleges and universities, broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
His remarks were unexpectedly political, given the venue, and touched on current events beyond the virus and its social and economic impacts.
“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,” Mr Obama said.
Mr Obama did not name President Donald Trump or any other federal or state officials in his comments. But last Friday, he harshly criticised Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster” in a call with 3,000 members of his former administration, obtained by Yahoo News.
The commencement remarks were the latest sign that Mr Obama intends to play an increasingly active role in the coming presidential election.
He has generally kept a low profile in the years since he left office, even as Mr Trump has disparaged him.
Mr Obama told supporters on the call that he would be “spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can” for Joe Biden, who served as his vice president.