In a virtual commencement address meant specifically for black-only colleges, former president Barack Obama criticized the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus and made several false claims, as reported by CNN.
In the speech, Obama claimed that “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,” also claiming that “a lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.” While he did not mention President Trump by name, the line is obviously a jab at the current administration, which has been trying to respond to the coronavirus after the Obama Administration weakened the federal government’s pandemic response resources.
Later on in the speech, Obama falsely claimed that the coronavirus impacts minorities more than white Americans, saying that “a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country. We see it in the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities.”
Obama also stoked racial tensions by addressing the killing of a black man in Georgia named Ahmaud Arbery, where he falsely described Arbery as “a black man [going] for a jog,” who “some folks [felt] like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning.” Despite the initially one-sided narrative surrounding the controversial case when it first came to light, recent video evidence showed Arbery trying to take Travis McMichael’s shotgun away from him, proving that Arbery was not purely a victim in the fatal shooting.
Obama has been unusually outspoken against the Trump Administration in recent weeks, most likely due to the explosive revelations regarding his administration’s confirmed unmasking of General Michael Flynn. The scandal, long promoted by President Trump and his supporters but ignored by the media, has revealed direct efforts by the previous administration to sabotage the president’s campaign and presidential transition, via illegal surveillance on campaign officials and others.