Biden slams White House statement taking credit for ‘ending’ coronavirus pandemic

Which candidate do more Americans trust to handle COVID-19 pandemic?

Fox News correspondent Kristen Fisher looks at the latest data on ‘Special Report.’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is taking aim at a White House release that includes "ending the COVID-19 pandemic" as part of a new list of President Trump's accomplishments.

“Yesterday the White House science office – and this stunned me – put out a statement listing ending the COVID-19 pandemic as the top accomplishment of President Trump’s first term, at the very moment when infection rates are going up in almost every state of our union,” Biden said on Wednesday.

The former vice president — who spoke after receiving a pandemic briefing in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., from public health officials — called it “an insult to every single person suffering from COVID-19, and to every family who has lost a loved one.”

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden attends a virtual public health briefing at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Trump administration statement came in a press release from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which was accompanied by a 62-page report detailing scientific highlights during Trump’s tenure as president.

More than 226,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic swept the country in February and March, with nearly 8.8 million cases. New cases and deaths have surged in recent weeks in the U.S. and around the globe. On the day the White House report was issued, more than 73,000 new cases and 985 deaths nationwide linked to COVID-19 were reported by public health officials.

White House communications director Alyssa Farah told Fox News on Wednesday that the release was "poorly worded."

"The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus," she said on “America’s Newsroom.”

But Farah emphasized that “this is the top priority of the president, defeating this virus and rebuilding our economy. But we are rounding the corner because we think that we will have a vaccine by the end of the year, and because of the president's leadership, we expect that we'll be able to massively deploy that on a large scale to as many as 100 million Americans by the end of the year."

Biden for months has pilloried the president’s handling of the crisis – and he’s made the issue his closing argument in the final stretch leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3.

On Wednesday, Biden emphasized once again that “this administration has just given up” on fighting the pandemic and that “the American people deserve so much better than this.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Eppley Airfield, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The former vice president also pointed to the hundreds of supporters of the president who were stuck at a freezing cold airfield in Nebraska on Tuesday night following a Trump rally, with a handful of them taken to local hospitals.

“Just look at what happened last night in Omaha after the Trump rally ended. Hundreds of people, including older Americans and children, were stranded in sub-freezing temperatures for hours. Several folks ended up in the hospital,” Biden said.

“It’s an image that captures President Trump’s whole approach to this crisis: He makes a lot of big pronouncements, but they don’t hold up,” he claimed. “He gets his photo op and he gets out. He leaves everyone else to suffer the consequences of his failure to make a responsible plan.”

Trump campaign deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager stressed on Wednesday that “President Trump loves his supporters and was thrilled to visit Omaha last night.”

She explained that “because of the sheer size of the crowd, we deployed 40 shuttle buses – double the normal allotment – but local road closures and resulting congestion caused delays. At the guest departure location, we had tents, heaters, generators, hot cocoa, and handwarmers available for guests. We always strive to provide the best guest experience at our events and we care about their safety.”

 Biden, in his comments, also took aim again at a charge the president made Saturday at a rally in Wisconsin when Trump accused “doctors and hospitals" of inflating COVID-19 patient counts to "get more money.”

“We can’t afford four more years of a president who, instead of fighting this virus, attacks doctors. I can’t get over this guy. He attacks doctors, claiming they’re over-reporting COVID-19 cases because they want to make more money,” Biden said. “Our doctors, nurses, and frontline health care workers are putting themselves at enormous risk every day. More than 1,000 of them have already died to beat back this pandemic and save lives. They deserve to be treated with respect by their president.”

The former vice president spoke a couple of hours after Trump – for a second straight day – complained on Twitter that the media was spending too much time spotlighting the recent coronavirus surge.

“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people,” Trump tweeted.

The most recent Fox News national poll indicated that the pandemic was tied with the economy as the single most important issue for voters in deciding their choice for president. Surveys from Fox News and other organizations indicate that more voters think that Biden would do a better job than the president combating the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned on Wednesday that it could be years before Americans are able to resume their lives normally amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 and perhaps into the next year before we start having some semblance of normality," Fauci said during a webinar with the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Meanwhile, the stock markets plunged on Wednesday as coronavirus lockdown fears gripped investors across the globe, with European countries reportedly considering additional lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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