Former President Donald Trump speaks at a “Save America” rally in Florence, Ariz., on January 15, 2022.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
- Former President Trump on Saturday blasted President Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- “Remember, I’m gonna get rid of COVID,” the former president mockingly said while imitating Biden.
- Trump was widely criticized for downplaying the severity of COVID-19 during his White House tenure.
Former President Donald Trump on Saturday tore into President Joe Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, pointing to the rising numbers of cases fueled by the Omicron variant and attempting to mimic the president’s voice.
During a “Save America” rally in Florence, Arizona, Trump relished in attacking Biden, who made the defeat of COVID-19 a priority during the 2020 presidential campaign and has tried earnestly to battle the virus through increased vaccinations among the general public.
“We all knew that Joe Biden would be not so good but few could have imagined that he would be such a disaster for this country,” the former president said. “There are four times more COVID cases.”
He continued, mimicking Biden’s voice: “Remember, I’m gonna get rid of COVID.”
The crowd — filled with many of Trump’s most passionate supporters — laughed at the impersonation, which also included the former president moving his hand in an attempt to impersonate Biden’s gestures.
In his dig at the president, Trump was likely referencing the increased number of COVID-19 cases that the country faced as a result of the highly infectious Delta variant — which was the dominant strain headed into the Labor Day weekend last September. Despite over 60% of the US population having received at least one dose of the vaccine at the time, there were four times as many COVID-19 cases and a higher number of hospitalizations than in the same period in 2020.
—Newsmax (@newsmax) January 16, 2022
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study last summer revealed that unvaccinated Americans were 11 times more likely to perish from COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated.
From mid-June until mid-July last year, when the Delta variant was gaining a larger foothold across the country, unvaccinated Americans represented 82% of new cases, 86% of hospitalizations, and 84% of deaths, which reflected how those individuals remained the most at risk for serious infection or death.
Last May, the Biden White House felt confident that it had made huge strides in “crushing” the coronavirus, touting the new CDC recommendation at the time that fully-vaccinated Americans could ditch their masks indoors and outdoors. However, the high transmissibility of the Delta variant forced the administration to adjust its expectations and retool to face the emerging health threat.
During a November interview on the Fox Business Network program “Varney & Co.,” Trump said that he wanted Biden to succeed in tackling the coronavirus, which has caused societal upheaval across the globe since 2020.
“I wanted him to be successful. He’s been totally unsuccessful. It’s a disaster what’s happened,” the former president said at the time.
Trump — who has been roundly criticized for downplaying the severity of the virus and who reportedly saw mask wearing as a “sign of weakness” while in office — never acknowledged the challenges that stemmed from the new variants during the interview.
The former president has consistently opposed vaccine mandates, while Biden has strongly supported such measures to reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
Last week, the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with over 100 employees, but allowed mandates to stand for health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
In recent weeks, Trump has been critical of politicians who have been coy about whether or not they have received COVID-19 booster shots, which he has defended while speaking with conservative media outlets.
As of January 16, more than 850,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US, with 65.4 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.