Washington (CNN)Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday slammed the Trump administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying he would handle it differently if he were president.
“We knew that this was coming. Back as far as January. They didn’t even begin to prepare the testing kits. I mean, this is something that’s kind of elementary. We talked about testing kits, we’re now going to get them,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” after being asked about the administration’s response.
There had been a strain on testing capabilities since novel coronavirus was first detected in the United States in January. In the early weeks of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the only facility in the US that could test for the virus. Since then, coronavirus test kits have been shipped to labs across the country, but some produced inconclusive results. The CDC said it would remake parts of the test kits, and Vice President Mike Pence told Tapper on the same program Sunday that more than 15,000 kits have been mailed to state and local clinics.
“Look, I don’t want to talk down the possibility of us being able to do this well, but, you know, the idea that Donald Trump said just several days ago this was a Democratic hoax. What in God’s name is he talking about?” Biden added Sunday. “Has he no shame?”
The President said at a rally in South Carolina Friday that Democrats are now “politicizing” the virus. “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said. “They have no clue, they can’t even count their votes in Iowa.” On Saturday, Trump clarified that he doesn’t think coronavirus itself is a “hoax,” but the criticism is. Asked if he regretted calling it a hoax during Friday’s rally, Trump said he didn’t.
The comments from Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, come hours after he won the South Carolina primary in a critical victory that has provided a much-needed boost for his campaign.
“I know what I would have done differently and what we did in the Ebola crisis,” Biden told Tapper. “I heard Vi