GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Friday that President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis shows the importance of taking the pandemic seriously, telling Americans that wearing masks is more important than being a “tough guy.”
The remarks, which came as Biden campaigned in the battleground state of Michigan hours after testing negative twice for the coronavirus, served as an implicit criticism of the Republican president. Trump has played down the deadliness of the virus for months, frequently eschews masks and has held huge campaign rallies with little social distancing.
Trump’s illness put even greater attention on the coronavirus a little more than four weeks before the November 3 election. Trump flew to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday, where he will work from a special suite for the next few days as a precautionary measure, the White House said.
At a union hall in Grand Rapids, Biden said he and his wife, Jill Biden, were praying that Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, had a swift and full recovery. He delivered the entire speech while wearing a blue medical mask, a departure from prior events where he typically took off his mask before speaking.
“This is not a matter of politics,” Biden said. “It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically.”
Biden urged all Americans to follow scientific guidelines, including wearing masks, washing hands frequently and staying 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Health officials, including the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, have said masks are a crucial tool for slowing the spread of the virus.
“Be patriotic,” Biden said. “It’s not about being a tough guy. It’s about doing your part.”
During Tuesday’s chaotic presidential debate, Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask at his events, even when he is far away from other people.
The disease caused by the coronavirus has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States. Polls show voters trust Biden to handle the coronavirus more than Trump.
Biden leads Trump in national opinion polls, although surveys in the battleground states that will decide the contest show a closer race. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last month showed Biden leading Trump by 5 percentage points among likely voters in Michigan.
Source: Voice of America