One of Joe Biden’s recent favorite campaign lines is to knock President Trump for not warning the public about the coronavirus pandemic earlier in his State of the Union speech this year.
Trump, however, did address the coronavirus pandemic in his State of the Union speech in early January of this year.
“Imagine if he had, just maybe, on the State of the Union that year, spoke up and said, ‘We got a problem, we can handle it. Here’s what we got to do,'” the Democrat said Friday in a speech from Hermantown, Minnesota.
On Thursday night, Biden made a similar claim in a CNN town hall. “Imagine if he at the State of the Union stood up and said — when back in January, I wrote an article saying we’ve got a pandemic, we’ve got a real problem — imagine if he had said something,” Biden said. (Biden’s Jan. 27 USA Today op-ed referred only to the “possibility of a pandemic” but did call the coronavirus a “crisis.”)
Biden also deployed the line in a virtual fundraiser earlier in the week while the revelation of Trump’s comments to journalist Bob Woodward surfaced. “He knew and purposefully played it down,” Biden said Monday, according to a pool report. “Imagine if he had spoken up in his State of the Union and warned the people what was coming so we could be prepared. He lied to the American people. Failed to do his job.”
The president’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4 of this year did include a paragraph on the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Trump said.
Trump did not specifically call on state or local governments or individuals to take action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the congressional address.