Biden Slams Trump For Being ‘So Eager’ To Hold Campaign Rally During Pandemic

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the country during a speech in Darby, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
June 17, 2020 4:33 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday tore into President Trump’s “bungled” response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

The former VP first listed off numerous criticisms against Trump — which include pushing “dangerous disproven drugs,” standing in the way of the CDC’s reopening guidelines, refusing to wear a mask and scaling back meetings of the White House coronavirus task force — before accusing him of wanting to “style himself as a war-time president” against the novel coronavirus.

“Unlike any other war, any other war time leader, he takes no responsibility, he exercises no leadership, now he’s just flat surrendering the fight,” Biden said. “Instead of leading the charge to defeat the virus, he just basically waved a white flag and has retreated.”

Biden then proceeded to slam the President for being “so eager to get back to his campaign rallies” despite CDC guidelines warning against large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“He’s willing to do it as long as, not withstanding CDC guidelines, as long as the people who show up sign a waiver promising they’ll not hold the campaign liable,” Biden said. “Oh, man. Donald Trump’s failure to fight the coronavirus with the same energy and focus that he uses to troll his enemies on Twitter has cost us lives. And it’s putting hope for an economic recovery at risk.”

Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the risk of people contracting the novel coronavirus during Trump’s Tulsa rally this weekend, drawing comparisons to a baseball fan getting struck by a foul ball.

“When you go to a baseball game, you assume a risk,” McEnany said. “That’s part of life.”

On Sunday, several Republicans downplayed COVID-19-related concerns ahead of Trump’s Tulsa rally, which included Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) arguing that he’s opposed to the President postponing his first rally in three months due to declining numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Oklahoma.

Watch Biden’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: