Trump says he 'wanted Biden to be successful' in tackling COVID-19, blasts his successor's handling of the pandemic
- Former President Trump during a Fox Business interview blasted President Biden over his handling of the
- Trump said he wanted Biden to be "successful" in fighting the virus, but called the president's performance a "disaster."
During an interview on the Fox Business Network program Varney & Co., Trump said that he had hopes that Biden would succeed in tackling the
However, the former president, who was roundly criticized during his tenure for downplaying the severity of the virus, ripped into Biden's performance.
"Look, I wanted [Biden] to be successful on the whole thing on Covid, or as I call it, the China virus," Trump said, using an incendiary term that coincided with a rise in anti-Asian sentiment on social media.
He continued: "I wanted him to be successful. He's been totally unsuccessful. It's a disaster what's happened. Now, it comes back yet again. I think he's done a terrible job on the coronavirus."
While the former president spoke on the phone interview, he also pointed out that more people in the US have died of COVID-19 in 2021 than during 2020, but didn't note the global public health challenges that came with the emergence of the highly-infectious Delta variant earlier this year.
Trump also expressed his continued opposition to vaccine mandates, which Biden has strongly backed after initially resisting such measures earlier in his presidency.
"I want people to want to go out and get it [the vaccine], but I don't want to force it into them," the former president said.
The comments from the former president come as countries around the world, including the US, are fighting to stop the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
The rise of the variant led Biden to issue a travel ban set to take effect on November 29 for a select group of countries in southern Africa: South Africa, Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
"As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the
When asked about the decision last week, 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 a big concern and seems to spread rapidly," he said.
In March 2020 — as the coronavirus was spreading across the US — Trump issued a travel ban from most European countries, which at the time was one of the world's biggest hotbeds of the disease.
During Trump's campaign last fall, he took heat for his inconsistent messaging with the virus — praising the speed of the vaccine production while also comparing the virus to the flu — and it hurt him with voters last November.
Among the 17% of voters who cited COVID-19 as their most important issue in the 2020 presidential election, a whopping 81% of this demographic supported Biden, according to CNN national exit polling.
More than 776,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US this year, with 48.2 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Per the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 59% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of last Wednesday.
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