Biden responds to Woodward book: Trump 'failed to do his job on purpose'

Biden responds to Woodward book: Trump 'failed to do his job on purpose'
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE’s comments on the coronavirus pandemic contained in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, saying the president purposefully failed to do his job.

“He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months,” Biden said during a speech detailing his Made in America plan in Warren, Mich.

“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 continued.

ADVERTISEMENT

Biden went on to pin blame on Trump for the economic downturn amid the pandemic.

“You know, his failure has not only cost lives, it’s sent our economy into a tailspin,” Biden said. “It cost millions more in American livelihoods. This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence, and he is unfit for this job as a consequence.”

“How many schools aren’t open right now? How many kids are starting the new school year the same way they ended the last one? At home. How many parents feel abandoned and overwhelmed? How many front-line workers feel exhausted and pushed to their limits? And how many families are missing loved ones at their dinner table tonight because of his failures?” he said. “It’s beyond despicable. It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace.”

Biden’s comments came just hours after audio excerpts from journalist Bob Woodward’s new book were released, in which Trump is heard acknowledging the danger of the then-emerging pandemic in February.

"You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward for his book, "Rage," due out next week. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump’s remarks in the book mark a sharp contrast with his remarks on the virus in public earlier this year.

He repeatedly said in February the U.S. had the virus under control and that the country would soon have "close to zero" cases.

During a Fox News town hall in the Rose Garden at the end of March, Trump compared the case load and death toll from the coronavirus to the seasonal flu, noting that the economy is not shuttered annually for influenza.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing on Wednesday that Trump did not deliberately mislead the American people on the pandemic.

“The president has never lied to the American public on COVID. The president was expressing calm and his actions reflect that," she said.

“At a time when you’re facing insurmountable challenges, it’s important to express confidence, it’s important to express calm,” McEnany told reporters. 

The U.S. has the highest reported number of infections and deaths from the virus of any country in the world at more than 6.3 million and roughly 190,000, respectively. Thousands of Americans test positive each day and hundreds die daily from the virus.