When Vice President Joe Biden charged during Tuesday night’s presidential debate that more people would die President Donald Trump didn’t get “smarter” on COVID-19 soon, Trump didn’t address the claim about the virus itself — he attacked Biden’s intelligence.
“A lot of people died,” Biden said of the pandemic during the first of three presidential debates, held in Cleveland. “A lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker.”
“Did you use the word ‘smart?’” Trump asked Biden. “So you said you went to Delaware State but you forgot the name of your college — you didn’t go to Delaware State. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class.”
“Oh, give me a break, man,” Biden cut in.
“There’s nothing smart about you,” Trump said.
Contrary to what Trump said, Biden never claimed he attended Delaware State, a historically black university, according to the News Journal in Wilmington. Last year, Biden said he had gotten his start at the university, referring to the support he’d received from the school, according to the paper. A spokesperson for Delaware State University has said that comment was taken out of context by conservative media.
Meanwhile, Biden and Trump repeatedly talked over one another when it came to the virus Tuesday night, trading barbs about masks, vaccines, and overall handling of the pandemic.
For his part, Trump has largely claimed victory in addressing COVID-19, a worsening virus that’s killed more than 204,000 people in the U.S. alone. (Trump and Biden, adhering to public health guidelines, didn’t shake hands at the onset of the debate Tuesday.)
Biden, meanwhile, has slammed his handling of the pandemic, criticizing the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to undermine and contradict guidance from scientists and health experts, especially when it comes to dishing out a speedy vaccine.
Trump said during Tuesday’s debate that the country is a “few weeks away from a vaccine,” without providing evidence.
“You could’ve never have done the job that we did,” Trump told Biden.