Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday said that US President Donald Trump is “responsible” for catching coronavirus.
The statement came as his Republican rival Trump returned to the White House after a three-night hospital stay for treatment for COVID-19. Biden criticised the president for flouting mask wearing and social distancing guidelines.
Biden was questioned if he agrees with a recent poll says 65 percent of Americans think the president bears some responsibility for contracting this virus. To which he replied, “Look, anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is is is responsible.”
Trump told Americans “to get out there” and not fear COVID-19 as he returned to the White House on Monday and removed his white surgical mask to pose for pictures.
“Look, anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is is is responsible,” Biden told an NBC town hall in Miami, Florida.
“I would hope that the president, having gone through what he went through and I’m glad he seems to be coming along pretty well, would communicate the right lesson to the American people. Mask’s matter,” he added.
Trump wore a mask as he left the helicopter that flew him back from a military hospital outside Washington and climbed the stairs of the White House South Portico, where he removed it and posed for pictures, waving, saluting and giving thumbs-up signs.
He then turned to walk into the White House, his mask still in his pocket, TV footage showed.
Trump has played down a disease has killed more than 1 million people worldwide and more than 209,000 in the United States alone, the highest death toll of any country.
The Republican president, running for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 US election, was admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday after being diagnosed with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it,” Trump said in a recorded video message. “We’re going back, we’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front. … Don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful.”
Shortly after his return, a video with thunderous orchestral music posted to his Twitter handle showed him arriving at the White House and saluting from the South Portico as Marine One flew off. The video was quickly viewed nearly a million times.
Trump has repeatedly flouted social-distancing guidelines meant to curb the virus’ spread. He also mocked Biden at last Tuesday’s presidential debate for wearing a mask at events, even when he is far from others.