Biden in withering putdown of Trump after it’s revealed former president may have exposed him to Covid

Former White House chief of staff has tried to mitigate impact of shock anecdote in new book

Andrew Naughtie
Thursday 02 December 2021 17:19
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Joe Biden puts Donald Trump out of his mind

Asked about a shocking new claim that Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 before a presidential debate in 2020, Joe Biden had a blunt response.

“I don’t think about the former president,” he told a press conference on Wednesday – before calmly turning and walking away.

Mr Biden was being asked about a story from an upcoming book by Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s last presidential chief of staff. In The Chief’s Chief, Mr Meadows recounts that the ex-president – known as “the former guy” in the Biden White House – was departing for a Pennsylvania rally three days before the debate when he received a positive result.

According to Mr Meadows, when he relayed the positive result to Mr Trump, he was met with an answer that “rhyme[d] with ‘Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me’.”

While Mr Trump then tested negative for the virus before the debate, it was only a matter of days before his infection saw him helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center and treated for serious Covid-19 symptoms for several days.

The Biden team was reportedly furious that the president, his family and many of his staff did not wear masks at the debate venue, potentially exposing others to the virus – and that anger predates the revelation that Mr Trump had reason to worry about an infection already.

The first Biden-Trump debate was exceptionally belligerent and acrimonious, with the two candidates constantly interrupting each other while Mr Trump churned out a stream of false claims and various incendiary remarks.

Most infamously at all, when asked to condemn the violent far-right Proud Boys, he told them to “stand back and stand by” – a phrase that some members of the group later had printed on T-shirts.

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