Updated Aug 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden: I don't blame Trump for COVID crisis but for walking away

In his first interview since announcing Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Joe Biden told ABC's David Muir that he doesn't blame President Trump for the COVID crisis but for "walking away and not dealing with the solutions."

Why it matters: Trump has been criticized for his administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. has reported more deaths from COVID-19 and more cases than any other country.

What else he's saying: Biden said he blamed Trump for the "idea of saying that this is gonna go away, this miracle's gonna happen."

  • "All the talk about the crazy things about bleach and using ... I mean he hasn't listened to the scientists," he added.

The other side: Trump defended his response to the pandemic in an interview with Fox News' "The Next Revelation," which aired Sunday night.

  • "We're almost going to have a vaccine," he said in an apparent response to the U.S. government's agreement announced earlier this month to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.
"Somebody else would have taken years to get it. If I had a different attitude, that list would be one-tenth as long as it is." 
  • Trump also continued to claim that the U.S. is fairing "far better than Europe," adding, "We were far better than most other places, and if you take out New York, which was a disaster."
  • When Fox host Steve Hilton asked him what he was basing those numbers on, Trump replied, "I'm basing it on mortality. I’m basing it on just a lot of different statistics that I’m saying," without elaborating further.

The big picture: The number of new infections in the U.S. fell nearly 8% last week. But the coronavirus has killed Americans at six times the average rate of other rich countries. Florida became last Thursday the fifth U.S. state to report 10,000 or more deaths and on Sunday it became the second state to confirm over 600,000 cases.

  • Europe has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, but infection numbers and the death toll remain significantly lower than the U.S.
  • The United Kingdom has reported the fifth-highest number of deaths (over 41,500) from the virus — more than anywhere else in Europe. But its case numbers are much lower at over 327,600 — the 13th highest in the world.

By the numbers: In the U.S., more than 176,800 people have died from the virus and over 5.7 million tested positive as of Monday morning, per Johns Hopkins.

Go deeper: Trump: Coronavirus is “under control"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments and more context on the pandemic.

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