Speaking to a largely maskless crowd of supporters on Carson City, Nevada late Sunday, President Donald Trump mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden for vowing to "listen to the scientists" on the Covid-19 pandemic if elected in November and boasted about his own refusal to heed the advice of experts even as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to surge nationwide.
"If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression," Trump said, neglecting to mention that the U.S. is, in fact, currently in the midst of an unprecedented economic downturn.
"We're like a rocket ship, take a look at the numbers," the president added, remarks that came just days after the Labor Department reported that another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending October 10. According to data from the Census Bureau, nearly 80 million U.S. adults are struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and rent.
Watch Trump's comments:
Trump mocks Biden for pledging to listen to scientists. Watch this clip and ask yourself if Trump was trying to kill Americans by infecting them with coronavirus, how would it sound different? pic.twitter.com/aZSugwvoML
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 18, 2020
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The Biden campaign and allies of the former vice president were quick to respond to Trump's attack, which was in line with the president's repeated dismissals of expert recommendations and basic public health guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country.
Ronald Klain, Biden's former chief of staff who led the Obama administration's Ebola response, tweeted, "Trump admits he doesn't listen to scientists. No wonder the U.S. leads the world in Covid deaths."
Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates called Trump's remarks "tellingly out of touch and the polar opposite of reality."
"Trump crashed the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration by lying about and attacking the science, and layoffs are rising," Bates said.
The president's anti-science rhetoric, policies, and personnel moves—which have included the installation of political officials at federal public health agencies—have led nonpartisan publications and groups like Scientific American and the National Academy of Sciences to publicly criticize Trump, in some cases, call for his ouster in November.
"Policymaking must be informed by the best available evidence without it being distorted, concealed, or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated," the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine said in a joint statement last month. "We find ongoing reports and incidents of the politicization of science, particularly the overriding of evidence and advice from public health officials and derision of government scientists, to be alarming."