Biden Senior Adviser Dodges on Coronavirus Record

September 13, 2020

Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders dodged a question on Sunday about Joe Biden's claims that he sounded an early alarm about the coronavirus.

"In January and February, Joe Biden was not being briefed by national security experts who warned him how deadly the virus was," Sanders told ABC's This Week. "In January and February, Joe Biden did not have the knowledge that President Trump did, but I will tell you that if Joe Biden were president in January or February, he would have taken proper precautions, he would have warned the American people."

Asked for evidence that Biden called for coronavirus mitigation efforts in January or February, Sanders pointed to an op-ed the Democratic nominee wrote in January and his warning in October 2019 that the United States was vulnerable to a pandemic.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos pushed back on this record, however, saying that Biden's January op-ed did not call for travel bans, social distancing, or mask-wearing.

Biden has previously said that if President Trump "had listened to me and others and acted just one week earlier to deal with this virus, there'd be 36,000 fewer people dead." Biden, however, continued to hold in-person campaign rallies through March along with President Trump, holding his last in-person rally on March 9. The presidential nominee issued his plan for dealing with the virus on March 12, four days before the White House issued lockdown guidance on March 16.

Last week, another Biden spokesman misrepresented Biden's record on supporting coronavirus mitigation efforts, arguing that Biden supported the White House's ban on travelers from China. In fact, Biden criticized Trump for instituting the travel ban.