During an event in Michigan on Wednesday, Biden blasted the president, “We just learned from The Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward that the President of the United States has admitted on tape in February, he knew about COVID-19 that it passed through the air.”
He continued, “He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.”
“He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was, and while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life and death betrayal of the American people,” he added.
Biden continued to cite an analysis by public health experts that claimed if Trump implemented mitigation measures one week earlier, there could have been 36,000 fewer coronavirus deaths. And if he acted two weeks earlier, there could have been 54,000 fewer deaths.
“His failure has not only cost lives,” he continued. “It sent our economy in a tail-spin. It cost millions more in American livelihoods. This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence, and he is unfit for this job.”
“It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace,” he added.
Watch the video below:
Joe Biden on Pres. Trump's interview with Bob Woodward on COVID-19:— Chloe Salsameda (@ChloeSalsameda) September 9, 2020
"He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months."pic.twitter.com/eQFF2Rh2Rl
Biden’s comments come just hours after excerpts of Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s new book “Rage” were released that showed Trump admitted in private that the virus was deadlier than he initially claimed, as IJR reported.
According to Woodward, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told Trump in January, “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.”
During a February interview with Woodward, the president said, “You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed.”
“And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu,” he added.
Additionally, Trump told Woodward that his strategy was to “always play it down.”
At the time Trump made those comments in private, he publicly claimed that the virus would “disappear” and that it was not worse than the flu.
When asked if Trump had purposefully misled the American public about the threat posed by the virus, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The president has never lied to the American public on COVID.”
“The president was expressing calm, and his actions reflect that,” she added.