Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that former President Barack Obama "should have kept his mouth shut" on the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kentucky Republican criticized Obama while speaking with President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, during a Trump reelection campaign live stream.
"I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut," McConnell said. "You know, we know he doesn't like much this administration is doing. That's understandable. But I think it's a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you."
McConnell appeared to take aim at Obama's comments from Friday, when the Democrat reportedly told 3,000 of his former staffers during a private call that the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been an "absolute chaotic disaster."
Obama, who until Friday had otherwise largely refrained from critiquing his successor's actions during the coronavirus crisis, also reportedly blamed the "anemic and spotty" response on a "mindset" in the Trump administration of "what's in it for me, and to heck with everyone else."
McConnell said Obama should take lessons from former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Both were Republicans followed by Democrats.
"You had your shot. you were there for eight years," McConnell said. "I think the tradition that the Bushes set up – of not critiquing the president who comes after you – is a good tradition."
Still, the younger Bush and Trump have by no means enjoyed a cordial relationship with one another.
Earlier this month, Bush released a video urging unity to fight COVID-19 while praising health care workers and other Americans who are meeting a historic "shared threat."
"In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants," Bush said. "We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together, and we are determined to rise."
While Bush's video did not mention Trump, the current commander-in-chief was not thrilled with the message.
In a series of tweets after the video was released, Trump alluded to his impeachment trial and said Bush "was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!"
Trump, who has claimed that his administration's response to the pandemic saved "millions of lives," has also criticized his predecessor over the years and worked to roll back several key policies that Obama enacted during his time in the White House.
Partisan bickering has not subsided during the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Tuesday morning, the virus has resulted in over 80,000 deaths and 1.3 million confirmed cases in the U.S.
Obama has endorsed and promised to campaign "as hard as I can" for his former vice president, Biden, who is seeking to make Trump a one-term president by winning this year's election.
During Monday's live stream, Lara Trump also asked McConnell about why some Democrats "seem insistent" on "keeping the economy shut down" during the pandemic.
McConnell replied that "I don't know what it is ... the Democrats seem to actually prefer keeping people locked up at home, and that's one of the reasons some of the governors have begun to run into trouble."
He then alluded to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, highlighting how the Democrat has lost several federal court cases related to a travel ban and restrictions on church services in the Bluegrass State during the pandemic.
Americans are "beginning to chafe" at the executive orders that governors have issued in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, McConnell said.
The governors, McConnell said, have been "struck down (and) been overruled for being sort of drunk with power and the opportunity to keep everybody locked up."