It looks like the choice Americans will have next November will be between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Do they want to give Trump another four years, or do they want to replace him with Biden.
One of the most important things to consider in choosing a president is how they will handle a crisis. Since we are already in the middle of a crisis (the Coronavirus pandemic), it is instructive to see what each of the candidates have said on the subject.
Greg Sargent gives us a look at that in his Washington Post column.
I’ve compiled a timeline that compares public statements by Biden and Trump throughout the early days of this crisis, when extraordinary levels of failure by Trump and his administration squandered crucial lost timewhose consequences are only beginning to be felt.
What’s notable is that this contrast — Trump defying science and experts on one side, and Biden calling for a response shaped around science and expertise on the other — has been omnipresent throughout:
Trump, Jan. 22: The president tells CNBC that “we have it totally under control” and “it’s going to be just fine.”
Top Biden adviser, Jan. 22: Ron Klain, a Biden adviser who managed the 2014 Ebola response, co-writes a piece excoriating Trump for “brashly” dismissing Coronavirus as “under control,” while calling for “expertise” to “guide critical decisions” and noting “reasons for great concern.”
Trump, Jan. 24: Trump praises and gives thanks to China for its efforts to contain the coronavirus, and adds: “It will all work out well.”
Biden, Jan. 27: Biden publishes an op-ed in USA Today hitting Trump for “shortsighted policies" that "have left us unprepared for a dangerous epidemic,” and warning that the coronavirus “will get worse before it gets better.”
Trump, Jan. 30: Trump says at a rally in Michigan: “We think we have it very well under control.”
Biden, Jan. 31: Biden tells reporters in Iowa that “science” must “lead the way,” adding: “We have, right now, a crisis with the coronavirus.”
Biden, Feb. 1: Biden tweets: “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science.”
Trump, Feb. 2: Trump goes on Sean Hannity’s show and claims: “We pretty much shut it down, coming in from China.” Trump extols our “tremendous relationship” with China, and adds: “We did shut it down, yes.”
Trump, Feb. 10: Trump claims that “a lot of people” think the coronavirus “goes away in April with the heat,” adding that we only have “11 cases,” and that “we’re in great shape.”
Biden, Feb. 11: Biden goes on “Morning Joe” and excoriates Trump for claiming the coronavirus will disappear in the warm weather, crossing himself while doing so, and adding: “You couldn’t make it up.”
Trump, Feb. 26: Trump claims the media is conspiring with Democrats to hype the coronavirus to rattle the markets. Trump also says the coronavirus is “going very substantially down, not up.”
Trump, Feb. 27: Trump hails his administration’s handling of the coronavirus, and while he does reveal a hint of uncertainty, he says: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
Trump, Feb. 28: Trump shouts at a rally in South Carolina that Democrats’ criticism of his response (which proved entirely accurate) is “their new hoax.”
Biden, Feb. 28: Biden goes on CNN and says Trump has yet to “gain control” of the coronavirus, while calling on Trump to stop downplaying it and urging him instead to “let the experts take this over” and “let the experts speak.”
Trump, March 9: Trump dismissively compares the coronavirus with flu, claiming flu kills tens of thousands annually and that “life & the economy go on.”
Trump, March 10: Trump again hails the “great job” he’s doing on the coronavirus, and declares: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
Biden, March 12: Biden gives a speech stressing the importance of presidential truth-telling amid crises, noting that Trump’s ongoing falsifications risk leaving Americans without reliable guidance, compounding “public fears.”
Trump, March 13: Asked about the administration’s epic failure to ramp up testing, Trump : “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Biden, March 15: Biden responds to that Trump quote by reiterating his call for widespread free testing, and by declaring: “It is the job of the president to take responsibility — and his response is unacceptable.”
Trump, March 17: After all that, Trump preposterously proclaims: “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”