- In a Fox Business interview, Trump blasted Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trump said that he wanted Biden to be “successful” but that his performance was a “disaster.”
- Trump was roundly criticized for downplaying the severity of COVID-19 as president.
Former President Donald Trump on Friday blasted President Joe Biden over what he described as his successor’s ineffective handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite his own missteps that hurt his reelection campaign last year.
During an interview on the Fox Business Network program “Varney & Co.,” Trump said he had hoped that Biden would succeed in tackling the coronavirus, which for nearly two years has created a public-health crisis and societal upheaval around the globe.
But Trump, who was roundly criticized during his tenure for downplaying the severity of the virus, ripped into Biden’s performance.
“Look, I wanted him to be successful on the whole thing, on COVID,” Trump said, going on to use an incendiary term that was found to coincide with a rise in anti-Asian racism on social media.
He continued: “I wanted him to be successful. He’s been totally unsuccessful. It’s a disaster what’s happened. And now it comes back yet again.” He added, “I think he’s done a terrible job on the coronavirus.”
Trump said that more people had died of COVID-19 in 2021 than in 2020, but he didn’t mention the emergence of the highly infectious Delta variant earlier this year.
Trump also expressed opposition to vaccine mandates, which Biden has strongly backed after initially resisting such measures.
“I want people to want to go out and get it, but I don’t want to force it into them,” Trump said of vaccines.
Countries around the world, including the US, are seeking to stop the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. The rise of the variant led Biden to issue travel restrictions, set to take effect on Monday, for several countries in southern Africa: South Africa, Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
“As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises,” he said in a statement, describing the restrictions as “a precautionary measure.”
When asked about the decision on Friday, Biden told a group of reporters that he wanted to be “cautious.”
“We don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern; it seems to spread rapidly,” he said.
In March 2020, as the coronavirus was spreading across the US, Trump issued travel restrictions for most European countries.
During Trump’s campaign last fall, he was criticized over inconsistent messaging about the virus, praising the speed of vaccine production while also comparing COVID-19 to the flu — and it appeared to have hurt him with voters.
CNN exit polling found that among the 17% of voters who said the coronavirus was the most important issue to them in the 2020 presidential election, 81% said they supported Biden.
More than 776,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US, with 48.2 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 59% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of last Wednesday.