FACT CHECK: Biden Falsely Claims Trump Ignored Coronavirus in SOTU

nancy pelosi state of the union
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

CLAIM: Joe Biden claimed President Donald Trump failed to mention the coronavirus pandemic in his State of the Union.

VERDICT: FALSE. Trump explicitly mentioned the coronavirus, and Biden has made this same false claim before.

Trump asserted during his State of the Union address on February 4, 2020: “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.”

Biden, who has made criticism of Trump’s response to the pandemic a cornerstone of his White House campaign, told a group of union supporters in Duluth, Minnesota, on Friday that the incumbent’s leadership had made the crisis significantly worse.

The former vice president, in particular, repeated an argument he has made frequently on the campaign trail, mainly that Trump was solely responsible for the pandemic’s death toll.

“How many people across the Iron Range, how many empty chairs at those dinner tables because of his negligence and selfishness,” the Democrat nominee asked those in attendance.

In attempting to portray Trump as both incompetent and uncaring, the former vice president claimed the commander-in-chief had ignored the topic during his national prime-time state of the union address this February.

“Imagine if he had just, maybe on the State of the Union of that year, spoke up and said ‘we’ve got a problem, but we can handle, here’s what we got to do,'” Biden said.

The claim, which Biden had also made during his CNN town hall Thursday, does not stand up to scrutiny. As White House transcripts indicate, the president mentioned the novel coronavirus in passing while discussing his administration’s health policy. In his remarks, the commander-in-chief not only asserted that combatting the virus was essential to public health, but also promised that his White House would take all the “necessary steps to safeguard” the public from the outbreak.

This is not the first time that Biden has inadvertently made misstatements on the campaign trail. Since the onset of the coronavirus, Biden has frequently attacked Trump on the campaign trail for not doing enough to mitigate the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Ntably, the former vice president has accused the White House of putting the interests of big corporations first in its coronavirus relief effort, the CARES Act, while not doing enough to save small businesses.

As Breitbart News has reported, a number of the former vice president’s own donors have benefited from the Trump administration’s relief efforts.


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