Mr Biden led a work and employment event criticizing Mr Trump for conversations he had with him Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward for a new book in which the president is taped admitting as early as February that he knew the virus was, as the former vice president paraphrased the taped comment, “much more deadly than the flu.”
“He lied to the American people,” Mr. Biden said.
“For months he knew how dangerous it was. He did not do his job on purpose, ”he said, calling what the president said in private and his different public description of Covid-19 as“ a life or death betrayal of the American people ”.
Mr Biden spoke after White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a controversial briefing that followed news of Mr Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.”
“The president has never lied to the American public about Covid,” she asserted, claiming that the president publicly downplayed the virus because he “didn’t want to see chaos.”
“His actions reflect this,” Ms. McEnany said, repeatedly using the word “calm” to describe Mr. Trump’s goals in her public comments.
But he also told Mr. Woodward this, “I always wanted to minimize it. … I always like to minimize it, because I don’t want to create panic. “
While his administration in early spring struggled to explain to people how the virus is spread, Mr. Trump has been clear in a conversation with Mr. Woodward.
“These are deadly things,” Trump told the Washington Post reporter on February 7.
“You just have to breathe the air and that’s how it happened,” added the president during the phone call. “And so this is a very delicate question. This is a very delicate question. It’s also more deadly than even your severe flu.
Mr Trump said at the White House podium earlier this year that up to 200,000 Americans could die.
But he has also repeatedly said it will “disappear” and “disappear” – once saying that warming spring and summer temperatures will eradicate it – while pushing states to reopen their economies and schools.
During a campaign shutdown Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, the president, without providing evidence, hinted that the country was in its final phase of fighting the pandemic.
Trend data shows the number of cases is declining in states that have seen an upsurge in cases since its attempt to reopen the economy.