By MOLLY NAGLE, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — In one of his sharpest rebukes of President Donald Trump to date, former Vice President Joe Biden lambasted the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, comparing Trump to a whining child.
“(Trump’s) like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him — all his whining and self pity. This pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn’t to whine about it, his job is to do something about it — to lead,” Biden said in a speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.
Biden’s comments came as part of a campaign stop focused on health care in the battleground state of Pennsylvania and as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb.
“The number of cases is increasing in 29 states,” Biden said. “We are going to be dealing with this for a long time. Trump can’t wish it away. He can’t bend it to meet his political wishes. There are no miracles coming.”
In his 18-minute-long remarks, the former vice president continued his criticism of Trump’s recent comments at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, suggesting that he called for a slowdown of testing to reduce the number of coronavirus cases reported in the United States — a sentiment the Trump administration suggested was a joke, but the president reaffirmed to reporters this week.
On Tuesday, while the government’s top expert on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned lawmakers of the need to continue or increase strong precautionary measures to contain what he called a “disturbing surge,” Trump, speaking at a mega-church in the hot-spot state of Arizona packed with supporters not wearing masks, dismissed COVID-19 concerns.
“It is going away,” Trump said Tuesday.
And in remarks in Wisconsin on Thursday, he said, “We have the greatest testing program. We’ve developed it over a period of time. And we’re up to almost 30 million tests. That means we’re gonna have more cases. If we didn’t want to test, or if we didn’t test, we wouldn’t have cases. But we have cases because we test. Deaths are down. We have one of the lowest mortality rates. We’ve done an incredible, historic job.”
“He thinks that finding out that more Americans are sick will make him look bad. That’s what he’s worried about. He’s worried about looking bad,” Biden said.
“Well Donald Trump needs to stop caring about how he looks and start caring about … what has happened to the rest of America,” he continued.
Biden’s remarks took place as the Trump administration continues its efforts in the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19.
“I think it’s cruel. It’s heartless. It’s callous. And it’s all because, in my view, he can’t abide the thought of letting stand on one of President Obama’s greatest achievements, the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said of the administrations’ lawsuit.
Biden argued that if the administration succeeded in undoing the signature legislation of the Obama administration, the impact could be felt particularly by coronavirus survivors dealing with residual health issues as a result of the illness.
“They would live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus and his heartless crusade to take health care protections away from American families,” Biden said.
The event was Biden’s fourth in Pennsylvania since the beginning of June, continuing his slow return to campaigning in-person after being sidelined at his home in Delaware for months, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus — something the Trump campaign continuously criticized the former vice president over.
Biden, who removed his black face mask only as he began his remarks while standing at a podium that was socially distant from the limited number of journalists and guests in attendance, urged the country to continue to take precautions in order to contain the virus.
“We are going to have to step up as Americans — all of us — and do both the simple things and the hard things to keep our families and our neighborhoods safe, to reopen our economy, to eventually put this pandemic behind us. And sadly, we’re gonna have to do it without responsible leadership coming out of the White House. So it’s up to us — all of us. We’re going to have to wear masks,” Biden implored.
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