Democrat presidential frontrunner Joe Biden released a statement on COVID-19 Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump delivered his Oval Office address announcing new measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Slamming the president for calling the disease a “foreign virus,” Biden told an audience his campaign staff was in contact with disease experts who are addressing the virus according to “science,” and not the “xenophobia” supposedly exhibited by Trump.

“Yesterday we announced a public health advisory of experts who will continue to counsel my campaign and me, help guide our decisions on steps to minimize further risk. Also we will lead by science,” Biden said speaking from Wilmington, Delaware.

“W.H.O. now has officially declared COVID19 a pandemic. Downplaying it, being overly dismissive, or spreading misinformation is only gonna hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. But neither should we panic, or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a ‘foreign virus’ does not display accountability for the misjudgments that have taken thus far by the Trump administration,” Biden said.

Following his speech, Biden promptly walked off stage ignoring reporter’s questions.

Biden’s remarks echo sentiments from liberal pundits the previous night who, immediately following his speech, described Trump’s use of the term “foreign virus” as a racist dogwhistle.

“The president referred to the coronavirus as a ‘foreign virus,’” CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta told Chris “Fredo” Cuomo Wednesday. “It’s going to come across to a lot of Americans as smacking of xenophobia to use that kind of term in this speech.”

President Trump on Wednesday night announced new travel restrictions lasting 30 days affecting travelers flying to the US from Europe, calling it a “hot spot” for the disease.

“The restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days,” the White House said in a statement. “Those who are exempt from these restrictions, such as American citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place.

“There is extensive travel back and forth between Europe that heightens the risk here in the United States.”

Watch Biden’s full speech below:


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