Barack Obama Criticizes Donald Trump's Coronavirus and Climate Change Policies in All but Name

"We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial," Obama tweeted while urging people to vote

Photo: JIm Watson/AFP/Getty

Former President Barack Obama gave a rare — and negative — review of successor Donald Trump‘s presidential performance on Tuesday, tweeting that the U.S. couldn’t afford to ignore climate change like it did the early spread of the novel coronavirus.

Obama, like the presidents before him, has largely avoided directly commenting on Trump’s decisions, reflecting a pattern of nonpartisanship among former commanders-in-chief.

He said in 2018 that he was “intent on following a wise American tradition of ex-presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas.”

But he chose to speak critically this week while sharing a Los Angeles Times article about the Trump administration’s move Tuesday to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency policies, which is one of the biggest environmental reversals of the Trump presidency.

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial,” Obama, 58, tweeted. “All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”

During the past month, Obama has used his Twitter account to spread the word about “flattening the curve,” to slow new infections as well as scientific data about the coronavirus and his appreciation for health care workers on the frontlines of treating patients.

There were more than 189,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Wednesday, according to a New York Times tracker. More than 3,900 people have died.

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President Trump’s initial attitude toward the virus — which he downplayed compared to the seasonal flu and also said was being politicized as a “hoax” to damage him — has drawn criticism as the U.S. became the epicenter of the global pandemic, passing Italy and China with the total number of confirmed cases last week.

In recent days he walked back an earlier hope that the country could return to business as usual by April 12, which experts now believe will be a peak of the virus’ impact in America.

“I want to be positive. I don’t want to be negative. I’m a positive person,” he maintained to reporters on Tuesday.

The federal government has now called for its social distancing guidelines to stay in place until at least the end of April.

“You can look at a date, but you’ve got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious disease, said earlier this month. “You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do.”

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