Joe Biden told a North Carolina news station that Democrats are among the primary victims of the coronavirus pandemic and are carrying the country during a difficult time.
"The people who are getting hurt are Democrats, hard-working people, the people who can't afford to stay home, the people who are getting clobbered, the people who are making an hourly wage, the people who are out there saving our lives, carrying the country on their back," he said in an interview with Spectrum News posted Tuesday.
Scoffing at the idea that Democratic governors were holding back on reopening state economies to hurt President Donald Trump, Biden said the victims of the pandemic were "our constituency," as opposed to millionaires and people making "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Support from working-class voters, particularly in the Rust Belt, helped propel Trump to the White House in 2016. New York Times exit polls found a 16-point swing toward Trump in 2016 from Mitt Romney in 2012 among voters making under $30,000. The Trump campaign is seizing on the comments to depict Biden as a shameless partisan.
"Joe Biden continues to alienate hardworking Americans in his third quest to become president," Trump campaign spokesman Ken Farnaso told the Washington Free Beacon. "The coronavirus doesn’t discriminate based on political party and President Trump is armed with the data, research, and medical advice needed to combat this crisis head on. While President Trump has fought daily to protect the American people against this invisible enemy, all Joe Biden has done is regurgitate Beijing’s talking points and snipe from his basement."
Biden said in March the country was "truly all in this together."
In the same interview, Biden ripped Trump for a "dereliction of his duty" in responding to the pandemic, which Trump has blamed on China. The Biden campaign is planning to roll out policies it says will show greater strength toward China than Trump has.
Biden said last year, however, that China was not "competition for us," adding "they're not bad folks."