POLITICS
14/05/2020 4:37 PM AEST | Updated 14/05/2020 4:49 PM AEST

Barack Obama Speaks Out After Mitch McConnell Tells Him To Keep His 'Mouth Shut'

The former US president calls for "better policy decisions" on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.  

Former US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged a better government response to the coronavirus pandemic, just days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told him he “should’ve kept his mouth shut” about the issue.

McConnell also called Obama “classless” for criticising President Donald Trump.

Obama hasn’t publicly criticised Trump by name and didn’t do so on Wednesday.

Instead, he urged “better policy decisions” to fight the infections and protect people from the economic fallout as he shared a Vox report with expert ideas on countering the COVID-19 virus.  

Trump has repeatedly blamed his predecessor for his own administration’s slow response to the pandemic, which has now killed more than 84,000 people in the United States.

At one point, he blamed the Obama administration for leaving him “bad, broken tests” for the coronavirus despite the fact that the virus didn’t exist until last year. 

In a private phone call with former members of his administration last week, the former president did name Trump, however, as he slammed the president’s response to the pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster,” as reported by Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News.

But publicly, without mentioning Trump’s name, Obama has called out the lack of “a coherent national plan to navigate this pandemic” and warned of “the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic.” 

McConnell earlier this week said Obama should be silent. 

I think President Obama should’ve kept his mouth shut,” the Kentucky Republican said in an interview with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and an adviser to his reelection campaign.

“I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,” he said. “You had your shot. You were there for eight years.”

McConnell drew criticism from both sides of the aisle, including from the former chair of the Republican National Committee, for telling Obama to shut up.