Citing no evidence, former Vice President Joe Biden blamed President Donald Trump for nearly half of the COVID-related deaths in the United States.
Biden made the comments during a televised interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired Tuesday during “The Situation Room.” (RELATED: ‘I Cringed, No Question About That’: James Clyburn Wasn’t Impressed With Biden’s ‘You Ain’t Black’ Fiasco)
Biden and Bash did the interview outside and were separated by twelve feet so that they could safely speak without wearing masks, but the topic quickly turned to Biden’s Memorial Day outing and the fact that he chose to wear a mask — prompting a jab from the president.
“I think you have to lead by example. And I watched the president yesterday wearing no mask, you know, and some making fun of the fact I wore a mask,” Biden said, adding without any evidence, “And so I think it’s important that, look, 100,000 deaths, 100,000 deaths, and at least 35,000, 50,000, were avoidable but for lack of attention and ego, I think.”
Bash made no move to challenge Biden’s claim or push back on the numbers, instead fixating on the idea that President Trump had poked fun at his presumptive rival for wearing a mask outside. “You mentioned the mask, that you wore a mask yesterday. President Trump went to a Memorial Day service, he did not wear a mask. It’s not just some people making fun of you, he did. He went on Twitter, retweeted a photo of you wearing it, he’s trying to belittle you for wearing a mask, making it seem like a sign of weakness. Is it?” she asked.
“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden replied, citing recommendations that said masks would be beneficial in public spaces, adding, “It’s just absolutely — this macho stuff, for a guy — I shouldn’t get going. But it’s cost people lives. It’s costing people’s lives. Like I said, we’re almost 100,000 dead today. 100,000 people. Columbia study showing, if he had just started a week earlier, we would have saved thousands of lives. I mean, this is a tragedy.”
Bash continued to press on the subject of masks and the political divide that came along with them. “Wearing a mask has become a cultural and political flashpoint. The president is involved in that, even stoking that,” she said.
“Sure he is. And he’s stoking deaths,” Biden shot back, arguing that wearing the mask was something that ought to be done out of a desire to set a good example and to lead others to behave in the right way.
“Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine,” Biden concluded. “It reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They would walk around with a ball in their hand but they didn’t like to hit very much.”