CNN reporter Dana Bash interviewed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday, while sitting 12 feet apart in his yard. Bash brought up Trump’s retweeting a post Monday by a Fox News analyst appearing to mock a photo of Biden donning a mask, with the caption: “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public.” Bash said the president was “trying to belittle” Biden, implying masks were a “sign of weakness.”
“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden said of Trump, noting public health experts’ recommendations to wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
“This macho stuff, for a guy ... I shouldn’t get going,” Biden added. “It’s costing people’s lives.”
Biden called the deaths so far from coronavirus a “tragedy.” The U.S. continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, with over 1.6 million confirmed cases as of Tuesday and over 98,000 dead so far.
Biden wore a face mask in his first public appearance in months on Monday, while laying a wreath at Delaware Memorial Bridge Veterans Memorial Park on Memorial Day. The state asks residents to wear a face covering in public to avoid spreading coronavirus.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has made a point of not wearing a mask in his public appearances.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After Bash noted that wearing masks had become a “political flashpoint” and the president was “stoking” this, Biden said Trump was “stoking deaths.”
Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it was “peculiar” for Biden to wear a mask outdoors when he does not wear one “in his basement,” where the candidate has been campaigning online following coronavirus restrictions. Public health experts recommend wearing masks when outside one’s household, particularly within 6 feet of others.
In response to McEnany’s remarks, Biden’s spokesperson told HuffPost earlier Tuesday that Trump’s “historic disregard for the guidance of public health experts is responsible for a failed response that has led to the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans.”
In his CNN interview later Tuesday, Biden said he hopes to do more campaign events soon but that his team was “going to do it by the numbers,” referring to data on the coronavirus.
“It’s important because this is not over,” Biden added of the virus.
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