'Speak the truth': Obama tells mayors the 'biggest mistake' they can make in their coronavirus response is to 'misinform'


'Speak the truth': Obama tells mayors the 'biggest mistake' they can make in their coronavirus response is to 'misinform'


AP Photo/Evan VucciPresident Barack Obama gestures at the Interior Department in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, prior to signing the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal legislation that would allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Former President Barack Obama had some words of advice on Thursday for a group of US mayors on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic: “speak the truth.”

“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,” Obama said.

This comes as misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic has run rampant – not just on the fringes of the internet, but in President Donald Trump’s own White House press briefings.

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Former President Barack Obama had some words of advice on Thursday for a group of US mayors on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic: “speak the truth.”

Obama told local leaders from 300 cities that they should do everything they can to communicate accurate information about the crisis with “empathy.”

“Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion. Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through,” Obama said during a virtual convening hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies. “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 added that the mayors should always follow the 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.

pandemic has run rampant – not just on the fringes of the internet, but in President Donald Trump’s own White House press briefings. Trump is currently pushing for the US economy to reopen even as US health officials say widespread testing must be established before physical distancing practices can be relaxed.

Throughout the crisis, Obama has urged the country to listen to experts and follow the data and science.

He tweeted on Wednesday that in order to move away from social distancing policies, “the key will be a robust system of testing and monitoring – something we have yet to put in place nationwide.”
As of this week, 42 US states, Guam, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico – home to 95% of the US population – have issued stay-at-home orders , which require residents to remain in their homes except for essential activities, including trips to grocery stores and pharmacies, solo outdoor exercise, and medical appointments.
But the US is far from building an adequate system of testing for the virus , which would help track and isolate the disease and prevent it from resurging before a vaccine is developed.
Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, told The Washington Post that the former president would “continue to lend his voice throughout the pandemic and to remind Americans that we’ll get through this like we’ve done throughout our history: together, looking out for one another.”
With Sen. Bernie Sanders’ exit from the Democratic presidential primary this week, Obama is expected to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee, setting Obama up for a more active role in public life than he’s had since he left office.

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