Former Vice President Joe Biden rebuked Lara Trump’s assertion that had he been president when the coronavirus pandemic started, there would be 2 million Americans dead rather than the 218,000 who have died on President Donald Trump’s watch.
The ex-VP gave several local interviews on Friday, including to Roop Raj of Detroit’s WJBK Fox 2. During the interview, Raj related the comments from Mrs. Trump — daughter-in-law and senior campaign adviser to Donald Trump — that she’d made in an earlier interview with Raj.
“[Lara Trump] said to me that ‘If Mr. Biden was in office the first 6 months, the way it was treated with the swine flu, we would have had 2 million dead,’ if you were in charge,” Raj told Biden.
“First of all, she’s a lovely lady, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Biden said. “We lost 15,000 people to swine flu, we did not shut down any businesses, nothing, nothing happened in terms of the economy.:
“And what happened is in this case, I laid out as early as the beginning of February that this was a crisis,” he continued. “We left behind for the president a pandemic office because we learned from this swine flew and other things that had happened, that we need to be prepared for viruses that come from abroad, you couldn’t build a wall to stop it.”
He went on to describe other elements of Trump’s response that he feels fell short, asked “Remember what he said? I take no responsibility, it’s not my responsibility.”
“Do you regret at all calling the travel ban xenophobic?” Raj asked, a false claim that Trump makes frequently.
“I didn’t call the travel van, I said he’s xenophobic,” Biden explained. “It wasn’t about the travel ban. It was about how he, look what happened, hate crimes going up against Asian Americans. He’s been xenophobic across the board. Look what he’s done in terms of Muslims, the Muslim ban, look what he’s done in terms of dealing with everybody from a different race or a different circumstance. So he has been xenophobic, but not because the travel ban. And by the way the travel ban, 40,000 people came in during that period of time. For the other countries that moved quicker. But I wasn’t talking per se about the travel ban.”
Mrs. Trump’s claim is based on an out-of context clip of former Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain in which he says “we did every possible thing wrong,” and that “it’s just purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history.”
But the full question and answer make clear he was talking narrowly about difficulties with the H1N1 vaccine, not the overall response.
In fact, even though it took longer and produced fewer doses than expected, that vaccine was ready in less than six months, while in the eighth month of the coronavirus pandemic, a proven vaccine has still not been produced.
Watch the clip above via WJBK.
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