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Coronavirus: Obama calls US response ‘chaotic disaster’

Barack Obama, speaking here at an event in 2019, was president of the US from 2009 to 2017Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barack Obama was president of the US from 2009 to 2017

Former US President Barack Obama has strongly criticised his successor Donald Trump over his response to the coronavirus crisis.

In a private call, he called the US handling of the pandemic “an absolute chaotic disaster”.

Mr Obama has said he wants to play a larger role supporting Joe Biden in the presidential election in November.

His new remarks were made in a call meant to encourage former staff to work for Mr Biden‘s campaign, CNN reports.

Mr Trump’s approach to government is partly to blame for the US response to coronavirus, Mr Obama said.

“It would have been bad even with the best of government,” he was quoted as saying in the call. “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.”

Mr Obama also strongly criticised the decision to drop criminal charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn during the Trump-Russia investigation.

What is the coronavirus situation in the US?

More than 77,000 people have now died and the US has 1.2m confirmed cases – both by far the highest in the world.

Many states introduced lockdown measures in March but have now lifted restrictions, allowing people to return to work.

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Media captionWhat Trump voters think of his handling of the virus outbreak

But health officials warn this may lead the virus to spread further.

Mr Trump’s approach to the pandemic has oscillated. In February he dismissed the threat, saying it would disappear, but by mid-March he acknowledged its severity.

In April he suggested that ingesting disinfectant could be a preventative – something experts immediately rejected.

Last week he announced he would close down his government’s coronavirus task force but later said it is re-focusing on opening the economy.

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