Joe Biden called President Donald Trump’s planned events in Arizona on Tuesday a “distraction” from the President’s failure to handle the devastating COVID-19 crisis and a “reckless and irresponsible” move amid evidence that Arizona has become an emerging hotspot for the virus as it hits daily records in hospitalizations for the infection.
“Make no mistake: this visit is a distraction. It’s a distraction from Donald Trump’s failed response to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Biden said in a statement. “It’s a distraction from his failure to get Americans — including many in Arizona — the testing we need.”
The comments come amid questions from reporters on Tuesday regarding whether or not Trump was joking when he said in a rally speech in Tulsa on Saturday that he had told his administration staff to “slow down the testing” for COVID-19 because more tests meant the discovery of more infections. Trump insisted “I don’t kid.”
Biden rebuked Trump for his “inability” to provide a reopening plan for the country that’s rooted in scientific data and public health expertise.
During much of the pandemic relief effort, the president has left states to scramble for themselves, meanwhile flouting CDC recommendations to cover his face in public spaces and events like his own rally on Saturday, which resulted in eight new cases of infection among his own campaign staff.
Biden also criticized what he called Trump’s “corrupt recovery” effort that failed at getting critical resources to small businesses and working families and catapulted many Americans into economic ruin as he celebrated his own administration’s handling of still very high unemployment rates.
Trump is scheduled to make two stops in Arizona, including a stop to view the border wall construction in Yuma that was a major campaign promise when he was first elected in 2016 and a stop at a “Students for Trump” event in Phoenix where Mayor Kate Gallego has urged him to wear a mask before addressing local crowds.