In his first primetime address to the nation Thursday night, President Biden lobbed barely-conceal criticism at Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks then months — that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness,” the president said. “We lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really hard things for the American people.”
Without ever naming the last administration, Biden highlighted issues over which Trump has been criticized, like the importance of wearing a mask and “listening to the science” in deciding how to best reopen the economy.
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“A mask, the easiest thing to do to save lives, sometimes it divides us, states pit it against one another instead of working with each other,” he noted, nodding to the recent decision by Republican-led states to lift coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates.
Biden encouraged Americans to listen to the advice issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in continuing to wear masks “to save lives.”
Trump’s refusal to wear a mask until several months into the pandemic was an issue Biden was critical of throughout the presidential race.
Biden called Dr. Anthony Fauci “one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.” The comment was a contrast to those made by Trump, who was sometimes a sharp critic of Fauci, the top doctor on his White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Biden suggested Americans were not getting honesty from Trump, reflecting on a visit he made to a small business owner in Philadelphia last summer.
“Looking me right in the eye she said, ‘I just want the truth’,” he said, describing what she said she needed most to help her through the pandemic.
“My fellow Americans, you’re owed nothing less than the truth,” the president added.
Biden noted that when he entered office, only eight percent of people 65 and up had received their first shot, contrasting that with the numbers who have gotten the vaccine under his presidency.
The vaccines had only recently been made available when Biden assumed office
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Biden highlighted how since entering the White House he has been working with Pfizer, Moderna and John & Johnson to “manufacture and purchase hundreds of millions of doses” of vaccines — meaning 65 percent of elderly people have received the coronavirus vaccine in the last two months.
Trump could not be immediately reached by Fox News for comment.