WATCH: Joe Biden Told Americans Not to ‘Panic’ About Coronavirus in February

WCNC / YouTube

Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump on Wednesday for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus earlier this year to discourage panic — but he himself told Americans not to panic about the disease.

Sean Hannity aired archival footage on Fox News of Biden speaking to supporters in Sumter, South Carolina, on Feb. 28 — one day before Biden won the state’s primary, securing his first victory in three presidential campaigns and creating a path to the nomination.

“Barack [Obama] and I, when we were — as president and vice president – we took on the virus that was threatening all of Africa and, uh, the rest of the world,” Biden said, forgetting the name of the Ebola virus. “And we set up a mechanism that worked.

“But I want to take a moment to say it’s not a time to panic about coronavirus, but coronavirus is a serious public health challenge.”

Biden would later repeat his admonishment not to “panic” about the coronavirus in a speech March 12, the day after the World Health Organization declared the virus a “pandemic.”

On that occasion, Biden also warned people not to “downplay” the virus — which is what Trump admitted in March to journalist Bob Woodward he had done, because he did not want to encourage panic.

Prior to late February, the Democratic candidates had largely ignored the issue. When President Trump declared a travel ban on China, Biden dismissed the measure as “hysterical xenophobia.”

Later on Hannity, Karl Rove pointed out numerous statements by Biden’s health policy advisers telling Americans not to panic, including a comment by Biden aide Ron Klein calling the coronavirus a “fear epidemic.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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