As the White House sternly defended President Donald Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, Democratic nominee Joe Biden accused the President of intentionally misleading the American people about the virus threat, citing Mr. Trump’s own comments in newly-released interviews done for a book by reporter Bob Woodward.
“He lied to the American people,” Biden said of the President’s actions on the Coronavirus. “He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.”
“He knew how deadly it was, it was much more deadly than the flu,” Biden said during a stop in Michigan. “He knew and purposefully played it down.”
It was Biden’s first stop in Michigan in six months - as way back on March 9 he held a rally at a high school in Detroit, and then saw campaign events come to a screeching halt because of the virus outbreak.
“He failed to do his job on purpose,” Biden said of Mr. Trump.
The remarks came after the release of some interview tapes by Woodward, who spoke with the President 18 different times for a newly-released book.
“I wanted to always play it down,” the President said in a mid-March telephone interview which touched on the virus outbreak. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
At the White House, the President’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany sparred with reporters over the meaning of the Woodward tapes, saying the President always told the full truth in public to the American people.
“The President has never lied to the American public on COVID,” as McEnany repeatedly said the President was ‘expressing calm’ in his statements.
“The President never downplayed the virus,” McEnany added, even though Mr. Trump is on tape specifically saying that he did downplay the virus.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats swiftly grabbed on to the President’s taped comments.
“He purposely let a virus spread that killed 180,000 people,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).
“Shocking but tragically not surprising at this point,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).