Biden sets solemn tone as Trump waits 15 hours to mark Covid-19 milestone

Poppy Noor

Four hours after Johns Hopkins University recorded that 100,000 American lives were lost to the coronavirus, Joe Biden released a solemn speech.

“My fellow Americans, there are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they are forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,” said Biden, speaking directly to the camera from an office adorned with American flags.

It follows the release of a strategy by Biden on Thursday to use federal resources to drive coronavirus testing across the country.

Trump, on the other hand, kept silent. Johns Hopkins announced the landmark death toll at 5.30pm on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Trump retweeted videos slating Republicans who pushed for an investigation into Russian election interference last year; lashed out at Twitter for factchecking his tweets; and sent out since deleted retweets of people praising him as “the greatest president in our history.

Finally, he tweeted on Thursday at 9.37am to recognize “a very sad milestone”, without his usual capital letters and multiple explanation marks. Trump is yet to release a full statement or video addressing the death toll.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump had used Twitter to claim that social media platforms which intend to factcheck the president will be subject to harsh repercussions.

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted at 8.37am, 12 hours after the death toll had been announced. The message appeared to be a threat to Twitter – which for the first time on Tuesday began applying factchecking disclaimers on Trump’s tweets, which claimed mail-in elections result in widespread voter fraud.

The move from the social media giant seemed to have Trump particularly riled up, as he continued to tweet about Republicans who previously had their accounts muted during an attempt by Twitter intended to decrease “troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation.

Trump also retweeted a video attacking Republicans such as Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell for pushing for an investigation into Russian election interference.

Meanwhile, Biden, who has lost a wife, a daughter and a son in his lifetime, said to the American public: “The day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes.”