Barack Obama has urged officials to tell the truth about the Coronavirus pandemic. The former president told a group of mayors that misinforming the public was a serious mistake.
The Democrat spoke virtually to mayors and other local leaders on Thursday in a call organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies. He stressed the need for truthful communications during this crisis.
“Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion,” Obama said.
“Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through.”
“The biggest mistake any [of] us can make in these situations is to misinform, particularly when we’re requiring people to make sacrifices and take actions that might not be their natural inclination.”
The former president also told officials from more than 300 cities that they needed to rely on experts.
“The more smart people you have around you, and the less embarrassed you are to ask questions, the better your response is going to be,” he said.
“When you start looking at issues of domestic abuse and you start looking at racial disparities that are popping up in your cities, paying attention to that is the kind of leadership I know all of you aspire to.”
“You have to be intentional about it, and dedicate folks to thinking about those issues,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments could be seen as a swipe at President Donald Trump. The President has repeatedly spread misinformation about the virus and pushed untested treatments.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media