Joe Biden said Donald Trump’s actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic were ‘almost criminal’ as he piled onto the president for downplaying the dangers of the disease publicly while privately acknowledging it was ‘deadly.’
‘He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing,’ Biden told CNN. ‘Think about it. Think about what he did not do — it’s almost criminal.’
‘The virus is not his fault, but the deaths are his fault. Because he could’ve done something about it,’ he said.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said President Donald Trump’s actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic were ‘almost criminal’
President Donald Trump admitted he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus but said he did so in order not to cause panic
In this White House photo from December 2019 provided by Bob Woodward, President Donald Trump is seen speaking to Woodward in the Oval Office, surrounded by some aides and advisers, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, then acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, then-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and then-deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley. On Trump’s desk is a large picture of Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Democratic nominee was referring to revelations from Bob Woodward’s forth coming book ‘Rage,’ where Trump, in recorded interviews, gave a frank assessment of the dangers of COVID while publicly saying the disease was under control.
More details are expected to emerge over the next few days. Woodward is scheduled to be on CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday night where the author will play some of the recordings he made of the president.
Biden slammed the president for not taking more precautions in public, such as wearing a face mask.
‘This caused people to die. And what did he do the whole time?’ Biden said to CNN. ‘He acknowledged this — you breathe it, it’s in the air — and he won’t put on a mask. He’s talking about, ‘It’s ridiculous to put on a mask, what do you need social distancing for? Why have any of these rules?”
Biden charged the president with caring more about the economy than people’s lives.
‘It was all about making sure the stock market didn’t come down, that his wealthy friends didn’t lose any money, and that he could say anything, that in fact anything that happened had nothing to do with him,’ Biden said.
The Biden campaign was quick to latch onto the details from Woodward’s book, which were excerpted Wednesday in The Washington Post and from CNN.
‘This is deadly stuff,’ Trump told the author in February during one of their 18 interviews.
‘You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,’ he said. ‘And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.’
But while Trump admitted privately to the dangers of COVID less than two weeks later he said publicly that ‘we have it very much under control in this country.’
Biden said voters should kick President Trump out of office as a result.
‘Kick him out of office is the consequence,’ he told reporters traveling with him to Michigan on Wednesday.
Bob Woodward’s new book ‘Rage’ comes out September 15
President Trump admitted on Wednesday he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in order not to cause panic.
‘I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love this country. I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic,’ he told reporters at the White House.
‘Certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength, we want to show strength as a nation. That’s what I’ve done,’ he added
‘Leadership is about confidence. Confidence is confidence in our country,’ he noted.
Trump didn’t deny the comments – he has previously blasted stories he doesn’t like as ‘fake news’ – but offered an explanation instead.
‘We don’t want to instill panic. We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody,’ the president explained when asked about the discrepancy between the remarks he made to Woodward and the remarks he made in public at the time.
And when asked by DailyMail.com how the American people could trust what he says going forward, Trump said: ‘It’s a big part of trust. We have to have leadership, show leadership. The last thing you want to do is create a panic.’
He said repeatedly his public statements in February downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, which has taken 200,000 American lives to date and counting, was to avoid causing chaos and confusion.
‘We don’t want to have to show panic. We’re not going to show panic. That’s what I did,’ he said.
And he called the book – the latest in a series of books painting his administration in a poor light ‘another political hit job.’
‘Whether it was Woodward or anybody else, you cannot show a sense of panic or you’re going to have bigger problems,’ the president said.
While campaigning in Michigan on Wednesday, Biden repeatedly attacked Trump for the revelations in Woodward’s book, which will be published on September 15.
‘He knew and purposely played it down,’ an aghast Biden said. ‘Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.’
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
In a 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.’
Publicly Trump has resisted wearing a mask in public – a move many of his supporters follow. At a rally in Winston-Salem on Tuesday evening, many of his attendees did not wear face coverings despite state recommendations.
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 only off because he was able to properly social distance – and the event was held outside.