The most important message both presidential candidates are offering in the final days of the election is on coronavirus, and the contrast could not be more stark. On the one hand, you have Donald Trump presiding over superspreader events, mocking mask wearing, and claiming “We’re rounding the turn, regardless,” as coronavirus rates rise across the country and more than 1,000 people died on Wednesday.
On the other hand, you have former Vice President Joe Biden, who acknowledges the seriousness of what we’re up against. “Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” Biden said in Delaware on Wednesday. “I’m not running on the false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch.” Biden is running to do that work, not to bask in the glory of his own lies about rounding the turn.
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Some people want false promises, of course. They hear Trump say “This election is a choice between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown” and think he’s offering a real choice and not another lie. But most people know that Trump is the reason COVID-19 has been so devastating in the United States.
The White House has declared that “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” is one of Trump’s achievements—not one of his goals, one of his achievements. Again and again, Trump claims the virus will simply go away—implication being, he doesn’t need to do anything to make that happen.
October 25, “We’re rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we’re rounding the turn, it’s going to be over.” October 27, “At some point, we’re turning that corner, and it’s been pretty amazing.” And so on. Lie after lie.
Biden is telling the truth, even where it’s difficult: It’s a false promise to claim to be able to just end the pandemic. It’s going to be hard work. But it’s vitally important to get to where we can start that hard work.
On Wednesday Biden laid it out: “This country can’t afford four more years of a president who thinks he’s only responsible for the wellbeing of people who vote for him. We can’t afford four more years of a president who instead of fighting the virus attacks doctors. I can't get over this guy. He attacked doctors, claiming they’re over-reporting COVID cases because they want to make more money. Doctors are over-reporting cases because they want to make money.
“You know, our doctors and nurses and our frontline healthcare workers are putting themselves at enormous risk every day. More than 1,000 of them have already died in an attempt to beat back this pandemic and save lives. They deserve to be treated with respect by their president. We can’t afford four more years of a president who’d rather spend his time desperately trying to strip people of their health care than even once bother to put forward a healthcare plan of his own. We can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump.”