Biden: Trump’s Pandemic Response ‘Almost Criminal’ — His Admission of Downplaying ‘Disgusting’

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Former Vice President Joe Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview set to air Thursday on “The Lead” that President Donald Trump’s admissions to Bob Woodward about downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus were “disgusting.”

Biden said Trump’s response to the virus that has killed over 190,000 in the United States is “almost criminal.”

Anchor Jake Tapper said, “So big, breaking news. In his upcoming book, Bob Woodward reports that President Trump understood the serious risk posed by the novel coronavirus in early February. Take a look at what the president told Woodward February 7th.”

In audio, Trump said, “You just breathe the air. That’s how it is passed. So that is a very tricky one, a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than your, you know, even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff.”

Tapper said, “As you know, the president spent much of February and even March downplaying the risk of the novel coronavirus saying it would disappear saying the heat would make it go away. What is your response to this news about what he was telling Bob Woodward on February 7?”

Biden said, “Disgusting. We learn this on a day that 190,000 Americans are dead, and he knew this? I understand he had just gotten off the phone when he did the first interview with Woodward. He had just gotten off the phone with Xi Jinping, where he is praising him about transparency, and this is nothing to worry about, and this is going to go away like a miracle. What in God’s name would a man like —I don’t get it. I truly don’t get it. It’s like the way he talks about our veterans. It’s astounding to me.”

Tapper said, “The way that President Trump explains it, and he said this to Woodward on March 19 if you take a listen.”

In audio, Trump said, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Biden said, “That’s why we have no confidence in his leadership. I mean, look, you saw what Columbia Medical School pointed out in March, had he acted one week earlier, there would be over 31,000 more people alive. Two weeks earlier would have been 50 some thousand still alive. This caused people to die. What did he do the whole time? He acknowledged that if you breathed it, it’s in the air, and he won’t put on a mask. He’s talking about it’s ridiculous to put on masks. What do you need social distancing for? Why have any of these rules? 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 that, in fact, anything that happened had nothing to do with him. He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing. Think about it. Think about what he did not do, and it’s almost criminal.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN