Oct 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden says he told some governors "don't endorse me ... because you'll pay a penalty"

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden boards his campaign plane

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden said Saturday that he has discouraged some governors from endorsing him, warning them that if they do so, the Trump administration may retaliate by withholding critical COVID-19 supplies.

What he's saying: "I probably shouldn't say this. ... I told some governors, don't endorse me ... because you'll pay a penalty," Biden said in a virtual town hall at Amalgamated Transit Union in Wilmington, Delaware. "You won't get what you need from the federal government in terms of this COVID crisis.

  • "Not a joke, my word," he added. "We aren't blue states and red states; we're the United States."
  • Despite Biden's comments, several Democratic governors have endorsed the former vice president. He has also earned the endorsements of several former GOP governors.

The big picture: President Trump, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, has previously blamed "blue states" and Democratic governors for high coronavirus case counts and death totals, despite evidence showing there is little correlation between the spread of the virus and the political parties of state leaders.

  • In April, Trump threatened to withhold coronavirus aid from states that refused to align with his administration's immigration policies.

Of note: The president has not publicly threatened to withhold aid in response to Biden's endorsements.

  • Biden also said Saturday that he did not want "to be attacking the president and the first lady now because they now have contracted the coronavirus."
  • "Jill and I pray for their quick and full recovery," Biden added.
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