Joe Biden said in an interview earlier this week that the coronavirus crisis has "helped" his presidential campaign.
Biden — the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee following Sen. Bernie Sanders' exit from the race, which now leaves the former vice president under Barack Obama alone in the field — spoke Tuesday on video to Jim Gardner, veteran anchor of WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, about the coronavirus and President Donald Trump.
At one point Gardner said, "Mr. Vice President, obviously this crisis has upended this campaign. It has made it difficult for you to be heard the way you ordinarily would be under normal circumstances. And obviously President Trump has a daily forum that is watched by millions of Americans. To what degree has this pandemic hurt Joe Biden politically?"
"Based on the polling data it's helped me," Biden replied. "The more he speaks, the more my numbers go up. I'm not being facetious."
6abc's Jim Gardner discusses coronavirus with former Vice President Joe Biden youtu.be
During the interview Biden also criticized Trump for reacting "incredibly too slowly" to the coronavirus outbreak and added that he wrote a Jan. 17 "article" saying the pandemic is "coming" and that "we should be doing something about it." (Actually Biden's op-ed was published Jan. 27, and his gaffe on the date has been pointed out before.)
But Biden left his flip-flop regarding Trump's Jan. 31 China travel ban over the pandemic. At first, Biden indirectly characterized it as "hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering" — but then last week came out in support of the travel ban.
And while Biden criticized Trump for "failing to prepare our nation to respond" to the coronavirus, it's been repeatedly fact-checked as true by multiple news outlets that the Obama administration depleted and never replenished the federal supply of emergency gear, including N95 respirator masks, during the H1N1 flu, or swine flu epidemic, in 2009.