Former US president Barack Obama has called his successor Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic an “absolute chaotic disaster”.
During a conversation with former members of his administration, Mr Obama also reacted to the Justice Department dropping its criminal case against Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
He said he worried that the “basic understanding of rule of law is at risk”, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by Yahoo News.
More than 80,000 people with Covid-19 have died in the US and more than 1.35 million people have tested positive.
Mr Obama’s comments came in a Friday call with 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association, people who served in his administration.
He urged his supporters to back his former vice president, Joe Biden, who is trying to unseat Mr Trump in the November 3 election.
“What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy, that has become a stronger impulse in American life," Mr Obama said.
"And by the way, we’re seeing that internationally as well. It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anaemic and spotty.
“It would have been bad even with the best of governments.
"It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset, of ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’, is operationalised in our government."
Mr Trump has defended and boasted of his response to the virus, saying travel restrictions from China and Europe and social-distancing guidelines have prevented far greater damage.
“I think we saved millions of lives,” he said last week.