Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said it is “disgusting” and “almost criminal” that President Donald Trump knew of the serious risk posed by the coronavirus in February and then downplayed its threat in March.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday in Michigan, the former vice president said the revelations about Trump’s early understanding of how deadly the virus is and how easily it could spread — shared in recorded interviews for Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book — are “why we have no confidence in his leadership.”
“This caused people to die. And what did he do the whole time?” Biden said. “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?'”Woodward’s book, for which Trump gave 18 interviews, includes Trump saying on February 7 that
“This is deadly stuff” and on March 19 that “I wanted to always play it down.” The news about Trump’s handling of the virus comes less than three weeks before his first debate with Biden, who has led recent national and swing-state polls.
“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 Wednesday, speculating about Trump’s motives for downplaying the virus in the early weeks of its spread.
“He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing,” Biden said. “Think about it. Think about what he did not do — it’s almost criminal.”