Democratic nominee Joe Biden tore into President Donald Trump for the revelations contained in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book: that he knew how serious COVID-19 was, while telling the American public something vastly different.
‘He knew and purposely played it down,’ an aghast Biden said Wednesday on a campaign trip to Michigan. ‘Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.’
In the CNN excerpts of the book, which include audio of Woodward’s conversations with the president, Trump tells the journalist on February 7 that COVID-19 ‘goes through the air’ and is ‘more deadly’ than the flu.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden went after President Donald Trump Wednesday for knowing just how dangerous the coronavirus was in February but downplaying it for months to the American people
Biden held a campaign event in Michigan that was supposed to be about preventing the offhosring of jobs, but he dedicated the top of his speech to the startling revelations found in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book
‘So this is deadly stuff,’ Trump adds, passing along information he had gotten the day before from China’s President Xi Jinping.
A month and a half later, on March 19, Trump told Woodward he had been purposely downplaying the virus’ seriousness.
‘I wanted to always play it down,’ Trump said. ‘I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.’
Cut to September and many of Trump’s own supporters don’t appreciate the seriousness, as the president has held mass gatherings over the last few weeks where fans huddle together in close confines and don’t wear masks.
Biden, on the other hand, has showed an overabundance of caution while trying to spend more time out on the campaign trail after spending months Zooming into events from his Delaware basement.
At Biden’s Michigan event Wednesday, attendees’ chairs had circles around them, and they were instructed not to leave that space.
‘Please remain in your circles and keep your mask on for the duration of the event,’ an overheard announcement said.
During his speech, Biden said his mask was off only because he was able to properly social distance – and the event was held outside.
The Woodward book has Trump saying in his own words that he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus because he didn’t want to start a ‘panic.’ To this day, many Trump supporters don’t take the pandemic seriously, as they gather tightly at his campaign events with many not wearing masks
Biden began his speech, that he was reading from a teleprompted, to pause and explain to the press why he didn’t initially answer a shouted question at the airport about the Woodward book.
‘We found out just getting off the plane the press asked me a legitimate question that I did not have the background on because it occurred on the plane,’ Biden said mid-sentence, and then went back and re-started the prepared remarks.
But it was clear, a minute later, that the speech had been updated, with Biden specifically addressing Woodward’s reporting.
‘On the day that we hit 190,000 dead in the United States because of COVID-19, we just learned from The Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the president of the United States has admitted, on tape, in February that he knew about COVID-19, that it passed through the air,’ Biden said. ‘He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu.’
Biden then turned to Trump’s comments about intentionally downplaying it.
‘And while this deadly disease ripped through our nation he failed to do his job on purpose,’ Biden said. ‘It’s a life and death betrayal of the American people.’
Biden then mentioned some statistics, such as 54,000 lives could have been saved had Trump acted just two weeks earlier.
‘He’s unfit for this job as a consequence,’ Biden said.
‘How many schools aren’t open right now? How many kids are starting the new school year the same one they ended the last one – at home. How many parents feel abandoned and overwhelmed?’ Biden continued.
He said he worried American healthcare workers are ‘exhausted and pushed to their limits.’
‘And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures,’ Biden said.
The former vice president called it ‘beyond despicable.’
‘It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace,’ Biden said.
Earlier, the Trump campaign held a call with reporters saying that their aim Wednesday was to prove Biden was bad on China, with campaign adviser Steve Cortes trying to stick the former vice president with the nickname ‘Beijing Biden.’
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which originated in China, was the biggest headline out of Woodward’s book, which also featured juicy nuggets like Trump calling his military commanders a ‘bunch of pussies.’
Biden had planned to go to Michigan to talk about the continued off-shoring of jobs.
‘It’s fascinating to me that Joe Biden is trying to masquerade as an economic nationalist,’ Cortes said on the earlier call.
The Biden plan called for an ‘offshoring tax penalty’ on profits from products made abroad and then sold in the United States.
At the event, attended by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Biden vowed to help American industry and properly label American made products.
‘We found out on Trump’s watch a company selling deployment bags to active duty troops being deployed, falsely claimed its product was made in America, when it fact it was really made mostly in China,’ Biden said. ‘Trump didn’t do anything to respond.’
‘I’m not going to let that happen on my watch,’ he continued, making the pitch to have a dedicated office at the White House so ‘everybody is playing by the same “Made in America” rules.’