Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel faced ridicule on Sunday after she attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for what she called his “disastrous record responding to the coronavirus.”
Unlike the leader of McDaniels’ party, the former vice president has not been in office during the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 190,000 people and infected more than 6.5 million in the U.S.
“Joe Biden can’t run from his disastrous record responding to the coronavirus,” McDaniel tweeted. “The truth hurts, Joe!”
She shared a clip from an ABC “This Week” segment earlier in the day. Host George Stephanopoulos had pressed Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders about the presidential candidate’s comments on the outbreak during its early stages.
He said Biden highlighted the need for a plan of attack but did not explicitly call for social distancing, travel bans or wearing masks.
“In January and February, Joe Biden was not being briefed by national security experts who warned him how deadly the virus was,” Sanders replied.
In the rest of her response, which was cut out in the clip McDaniels shared, Sanders continued: “In January and February, Joe Biden did not have the knowledge that President Trump did. But I will tell you, that if Joe Biden were president ... he would have taken proper precautions. He would have warned the American people.”
Trump played down the risks of coronavirus for months before finally declaring a national emergency on March 13. Last week, veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book “Rage” revealed that Trump was aware of the virus’ dangers while he repeatedly told the public it was no big deal. Trump admitted in a recorded Feb. 7 interview that the virus was five times deadlier than the flu. In a March 19 interview, he said he liked to downplay the severity of the outbreak because he didn’t want to “create a panic.”
Two epidemiologists estimated in April that 90 percent of deaths could have been avoided had mitigation measures been enacted just two weeks earlier.
McDaniels attacked Biden similarly (while defending Trump) during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” earlier on Sunday. Host Chuck Todd had asked her about America’s poor outcome from the pandemic compared to other Western countries.
“If Democrats were in charge, if Joe Biden had his way, go look at his statements in January when he said the president was being xenophobic,” she said. (Biden called Trump xenophobic in response to a Trump tweet about limiting entry to travelers from China in which he referred to coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus”).
Todd reminded McDaniels: “He’s not the president.”
Other critics offered their own reminders on Twitter and cracked about other events that did not occur during Biden’s time in office that he also apparently failed to prevent: