The comments were first reported by Yahoo News, which obtained an audio recording of the call. A spokesman for Obama declined to comment or elaborate on the former president’s remarks.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Saturday dismissed the criticism from Obama, saying in a statement to CNN: “President Trump’s coronavirus response has been unprecedented and saved American lives.”
The White House did not respond to Obama’s comments on the Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn.
Weighing in on the case during the call, Obama said Attorney General William Barr’s decision to drop the criminal case against Flynn suggested “the rule of law was at risk” in the United States. Before taking office, Obama warned Trump about Flynn and raised questions about his conduct with Russia.
But Obama saved his strongest words for the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and its worldview.
“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said. “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.”
He added: “That’s why, I, by the way, am going to be spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can for Joe Biden.”
After formally endorsing Biden last month, Obama said he would be deeply involved in the campaign to help Biden win the White House. His remarks on Friday night were the latest example of that effort, telling the Obama Alumni group: “I am hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do.”
This story has been updated with the White House’s response to Obama’s comments.

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