Biden: Calling Coronavirus ‘Foreign Virus’ Is ‘Xenophobic,’ Blasts Europe Travel Ban

WILMINGTON, DE - MARCH 12: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Health officials say 11,000 people have been tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a speech on Thursday addressing the coronavirus outbreak, accusing President Donald Trump of “xenophobia” for calling it a “foreign virus” and slamming his announcement on Wednesday that flights from Europe will be banned for 30 days.

Biden, backed by a wall of American flags and wearing red, white, and blue, spoke as if a Biden administration was directing the national response, which in fact Trump has had in place and has expanded upon for weeks.

“We will lead by science,” Biden said. “The world health organization now has officially declared Co-vid-19 a pandemic.” 

“Downplaying it, being overly dismissive or spreading misinformation is only going to hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease,” Biden said.

“But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been take thus far by the Trump administration,” Biden said.

“Let me be crystal clear,” Biden said. “The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation.”

“It will infect Republicans, independents and Democrats alike,” Biden said. “It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code.”

Biden predicted the virus would not be abated while criticizing Trump’s efforts to slow its spread.

“It will touch people in positions of power as well as the most vulnerable in our society,” Biden said. “And it will not stop.”

“Banning all travel from Europe or any other place in the world may slow it but, as we’ve seen, it will not stop it,” Biden said.

“And travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics rather than risks will be counterproductive,” Biden said. “This is going to require a national response.” 

“Not just from our elected leaders or our public health officials, but from all of us,” Biden said.

The travel ban does not affect U.S. citizens or their families traveling to the U.S. from Europe. The U.K. is exempt from the temporary ban.

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