By ESTHER CASTILLEJO, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Two weeks after telling “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir that he would shut down the country if scientists advised him to, former Vice President Joe Biden is fighting back against President Donald Trump and his allies who have said Biden would shut the country down if elected. Trump dubbed it the “Biden shutdown” during his speech at the Republican National Convention last week.
During Biden’s first joint interview with running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on Aug. 21, Muir asked Biden if he’d be prepared to shut the country down if the coronavirus crisis combined with the flu season as scientists have warned is a possibility.
“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives. Because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden told Muir. “That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus. You have to deal with the virus.”
When Muir pressed whether he shut down the country if the scientists advised him to do so, Biden responded, “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”
On Wednesday — after his answer to Muir became the target of attacks — Biden told reporters in Delaware he would follow the science, but doesn’t believe the country would be shut down if measures are taken to slow the spread of the virus.
“There’s going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy,” Biden said. “I got asked by David Muir a question, if I was asked to shut everything down. I took that as a generic question if — am I going to follow the science? I am going to insist, and I insist now, without any authority, that every responsible person in this country, when they’re out in public or not, with the cohort that they have lived with — because they know they haven’t spread it to their husband, wife, etc. — that they wear a mask.”
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