Former President Barack Obama joined his vice president, Joe Biden, in criticizing President Donald Trump’s leadership in a campaign video to be released Thursday.
In a teaser Wednesday, Obama and Biden focused on Trump saying he took “no responsibility” for a lag in nationwide testing for the coronavirus during the pandemic.
“Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying ‘it’s not my responsibility. I take no responsibility.’ Literally. Literally,” Biden said in a clip from the video released Wednesday.
Obama replied: “Those words didn’t come out of our mouths while we were in office.”
“No. I don’t understand his inability to get a sense of what people are going through,” Biden said. “He just can’t relate in any way.”
Obama, who endorsed Biden on April 14, is a potent weapon for Biden, with a joint video event drawing 120,000 viewers and campaign contributions totaling $7.6 million, according to the campaign.
The clash over responsibility stemmed from a question to Trump at a news conference March 13. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, had called the lack of widespread testing a “failure” during congressional testimony. Trump was asked whether he took responsibility for the lag in testing.
“I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time,” Trump said. “And what we’ve done is redesigned it very quickly with the help of the people behind me. And we’re now in very, very strong shape.”
Through Monday, the U.S. has had nearly 4 million cases of coronavirus and more than 142,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Trump resumed his coronavirus briefings Monday after a hiatus of nearly three months. He said a virus would be developed and that the virus would “disappear,” but he acknowledged conditions could worsen.
“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better – something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” Trump said.