This year, Joe Biden has turned the coronavirus pandemic into a major part of his campaign against President Donald Trump. At every opportunity, the Democratic challenger has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the virus, insisting that the president’s apathy led to the deaths of thousands of Americans. The underlying message, of course, is that if Biden had been president when the coronavirus reached our shores, things would have been much different.
But in an interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier on Thursday, Biden campaign press secretary TJ Ducklo seemed unable to articulate what, exactly, his boss would have done differently if he’d been in the White House.
“What specifically would he have done at the end of January had he received the briefing that we know now the president received January 28th,” asked Baier.
Instead of answering the question, Ducklo launched into the usual campaign talking points, accusing Trump of having “knowingly and willfully lied about the dangerousness of the threat that faced this country.”
“If he’d taken action just few weeks earlier, we would have had tens of thousands of lives that would have been saved,” Ducklo said without any evidence at all.
Baier then played clips of two top advisors to Joe Biden who both downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus at the beginning of the year.
“And it goes on,” Baier said. “I mean they continue to make comments that masks are not necessary, that this is overreaction. It goes into February and early March. So understanding that those are the people he listens to and Joe Biden has said that he wouldn’t have closed the travel from China, what specifically would the former vice president have done?”
Ducklo fumbled, muttering that Biden was “not against the travel ban,” which of course he was.
“Let me just clarify, you’re saying that Joe Biden was for closing down travel from China when the president did it?” Baier asked.
“Joe Biden has been clear that he was not against that travel ban,” Ducklo replied.
“But he was for it?” Baier pressed.
“Joe Biden has been clear about this, Bret,” said Ducklo. “Again, I can send you the fact checks if they’re helpful. This has been fact checked into oblivion.”
At no point did Ducklo actually say what Biden would have done differently, instead preferring to get into the weeds about the extent to which his boss did or did not support the Chinese travel ban. This indicates that Biden would not have done anything differently; that, in fact, he would have almost certainly done much less about keeping COVID off our shores if he’d been in the White House at the time.