In a speech to mayors on Thursday, former President Barack Obama offered a critical piece of advice for combating the coronavirus pandemic — and in characteristic fashion, subtextually criticized President Donald Trump without mentioning him by name.
“The biggest mistake any [of] us can make in these situations is to misinform,” said Obama. “Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion. Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through … The more smart people you have around you, and the less embarrassed you are to ask questions, the better your response is going to be.”
Trump has been widely criticized for perpetually misinforming the public about coronavirus, including his early claims that it would soon go away, that it was no worse than the seasonal flu, and that warm weather would contain its spread. He has also questioned medical experts’ social distancing guidelines on multiple occasions, suggesting that the economic consequences of lockdowns are not worth containing the virus, and at one point suggested that exaggerations of the virus were the Democrats’ “new hoax.”