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Donald Trump Calls Barack Obama “Incompetent President” After Commencement Speech Calls Out Selfish Adults With Fancy Title

In a commencement speech aired Saturday, former President Barack Obama told students that they should do better than some current adults, who make selfish choices that harm others. Though he didn’t mention the current president by name, he did talk about “the folks in charge,” and the current president may have taken this quite personally. Trump fired back in a response Sunday, insisting that he hadn’t seen the speech, but also attacking Obama as “an incompetent president,” which he doubled down later on Twitter, also leveling another accusation of corruption.

Donald Trump says Barack Obama was incompetent president
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

In transcripts collected by the Washington Post, Obama’s two commencement speeches, one for graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and one for high school students across the nation, can be read in full. In the high school ceremony, he congratulated seniors on making it through a school year that ended differently than anyone would have expected, with disappointments in loss of events such as prom and an in-person graduation ceremony.

He spoke of a realization that comes at the end of childhood, and of expectations of adults:

…another hard truth, something that we all have to eventually accept once our childhood comes to an end. All those adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing? It turns out that they don’t have all the answers.

Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy – that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way – which is why things are so screwed up.

In his speech to HBCU graduates, Obama got a little more specific, addressing the failures of “folks in charge.”

More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.

Donald Trump, who has spent much of the last few weeks talking about some unspecified crime alleged against Obama, says he didn’t hear the speeches. However, he took the time to throw out another insult: “Look, he was an incompetent president. That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”

Later, he tweeted to credit Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for Trump’s own election as president, and to again make vague accusations of corruption and incompetence.

Obama’s open criticism of the Trump administration’s coronavirus pandemic response has prompted a lot of defensive responses from the White House. Among other defenses, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has twice in the past 4 days responded to criticism of the Trump administration’s failure to follow a pandemic response plan left by the Obama team. In video shared by Vox journalist Aaron Rupar here, from Thursday, and again in a press briefing on Friday, McEnany maintains that the Obama plan was merely “a paper packet.” By contrast, she says the current administration created their own plan in August, though she doesn’t say why this was never mentioned until May, nine months later, and long after Trump dismissed COVID-19 as something that would go away on its own.



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