Joe Biden Says Donald Trump Is Responsible for His COVID-19 Diagnosis

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden didn't hold back when it came to President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis at a NBC News town hall Monday night. After Trump tested positive for the virus he has repeatedly downplayed, despite it killing more than 1 million people worldwide and over 211,000 Americans, Biden said during the town hall the president was "responsible" for what happened to him.

"Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, 'Masks don't matter, social distancing doesn't matter,' I think is responsible for what happens to them," Biden, 77, said of Trump, 74, during the event. Trump soon responded to the event on Twitter, calling it a "joke" and a "disgrace" to the country.

Biden's condemnation of refusing to follow health and safety guidelines seven months into a global pandemic comes as Trump has pushed a new narrative following his positive test, subsequent hospitalization and treatment with experimental drugs not available to the public. "One thing that's for certain: Don't let it dominate you. Don't be afraid of it. You're gonna beat it," Trump said in a message from the White House, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Monday. "We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently. And you're gonna beat it."

As soon as he returned to the White House, Trump was seen removing his mask outside, despite still being infectious and near other people. He has since returned to a familiar talking point, saying incorrectly that the coronavirus is not more dangerous than the flu, despite killing tens of thousands more people in the U.S.

During Monday's town hall, Biden also addressed wearing a mask, for which Trump mocked him during the first presidential debate. "What is this macho thing — 'I'm not gonna wear a mask?' What is the deal here?" Biden said, telling host Lester Holt while holding up a mask, "I view wearing this mask, not so much protecting me, but as a patriotic responsibility. ...I would hope that the president — having gone through what he went through ... would communicate the right lesson to the American people: Masks matter."