Former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that President Donald Trump should “just be quiet” about the new coronavirus and suggested that the president’s use of inaccurate information in discussing the outbreak has caused stocks to plummet.
“I think there’s no confidence in the president and anything he says or does,” Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “He turns everything into what he thinks is a political benefit for himself, and he’s actually imploding in the process.
“But there’s a lot of innocent bystanders that are being badly hurt,” Biden said. “I wish he would just be quiet. I really mean it.
“Just let the experts speak. And acknowledge whatever they suggest to him is what we should be doing,” Biden added.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Biden told NBC Nightly News that his campaign is “going to follow the recommendations of the experts” and that he would consider canceling some rallies if needed.
“If you notice in here, we did a fist bump, we didn’t shake hands,” he added. “I think that we’re going to follow the recommendations of the experts where we should be doing. And if they conclude that there shouldn’t be big indoor rallies, then we’ll stop indoor, big indoor rallies. We’re going to do whatever they say.”
Biden answered in the affirmative when O’Donnell asked whether the stock market — which has fallen precipitously over the past week — was plummeting because investors were “realizing the president simply does not tell them … the truth about this situation.”
“I believe that’s the case. Now, it doesn’t mean the market wouldn’t still go down. But it wouldn’t collapse, I don’t think,” he said.
O’Donnell’s complete interview with Biden will air Monday night on “The Last Word.”
Discussing his candidacy, Biden told Nightly News that he has “thought about” his recent big endorsements from Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as being potential vice president picks. Saying they “are all capable of being president,” he added that “it would be presumptuous for me to decide who is going to be vice president. I’m not even the nominee yet.”
Stocks tumbled globally Monday as investors braced for further economic fallout of the coronavirus epidemic, with a new oil price war adding to anxiety. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 2,000 points, or 7.8 percent.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
As cases of the coronavirus have spread around the world and the U.S., Trump has refused to back away from spreading personal beliefs about the virus that contradict veteran health officials and experts.
And even White House officials are growing increasingly frustrated at what they see as Trump’s consistent bids to downplay the severity of the outbreak, NBC News reported Sunday — a tendency that has led to a clash in messaging with public health officials.