'Should have kept his mouth shut': McConnell slams Obama for criticizing Trump admin

The Senate majority leader said the former president broke with tradition by maligning his successor.
Image: Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wears a mask as he walks through a hallway at the U.S. Capitol
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the Capitol on Monday, May 11, 2020.Alex Wong / Getty Images

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday evening slammed former President Barack Obama for what the Senate majority leader said was breaking tradition of not criticizing the sitting president.

"I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut," McConnell said in an interview with Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump on a YouTube episode of "Team Trump Online!"

"You know, we know he doesn't like much (what this) administration is doing, that's understandable," he added. "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."

McConnell said, “Generally former presidents just don't do that,” adding that it went against the tradition set by the Bushes of not criticizing their successors.

McConnell was referring to remarks Obama made Friday during a phone call with thousands of alumni of his administration in which he said the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus is a "absolute chaotic disaster." While Obama has largely refrained from publicly commenting on his successor, he has not shied away from criticizing Trump at times.

McConnell also said during his interview Monday that the Obama administration "did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this," referring to the coronavirus crisis.

Former Obama administration officials, however, have said that they did, in fact, share with the incoming Trump administration plans for handling a pandemic during the transition period.

"The maddening thing is Obama left them a WH office for pandemics, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise, and a global infrastructure to deal with 'something like this,'" tweeted former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes in response to McConnell's comment.