Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, blasted Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying that former President Barack Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” and not criticized President Donald Trump.
“I’m sure Mitch is aware that a grown ass black man who happens to be a former president has agency to speak his mind on how his successor is managing this crisis,” Steele said Tuesday on Twitter. “Especially since his successor has yet to ‘keep his mouth shut’ about him.”
McConnell criticized Obama on Monday in an interview with Trump 2020 senior advisor Lara Trump on a Youtube episode of “Team Trump Online!”
“We know he doesn’t like much what this administration is doing, that’s understandable,” he said. “But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”
He added that former presidents generally “don’t do that,” praising “the Bushes” in particular for not criticizing successors.
McConnell was referring to remarks Obama made on a call with thousands of alumni from his administration last Friday, in which he called Trump’s response to the pandemic an “absolute chaotic disaster.” Obama has rarely weighed in on the current administration since leaving office, but he has occasionally criticized Trump in the past.
Obama, however, isn’t the first president to criticize a successor. The fact-checking website Snopes debunked that claim, citing numerous examples of former presidents doing so — including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.