WARREN, Mich. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. tore into President Trump on Wednesday over new revelations from a forthcoming book by the journalist Bob Woodward that the president knowingly minimized the risks of the coronavirus, arguing that Mr. Trump had lied to the American public and put lives in danger.
Mr. Biden’s remarks came as part of a broader effort to take on Mr. Trump over protecting American jobs, and to blame the president’s handling of the pandemic for the nation’s plunge into recession this year.
“He had the information,” Mr. Biden said during a trip to the critical battleground state of Michigan. “He knew how dangerous it was. And while this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.”
“It’s beyond despicable,” Mr. Biden added, detailing the crises the nation faces as a result of the pandemic that go far beyond the staggering public health costs. “It’s a dereliction of duty. It’s a disgrace.”
Later on CNN, Mr. Biden used even sharper language to criticize Mr. Trump’s contradictory message about the gravity of the pandemic.
“It was all about making sure the stock market didn’t come down, that his wealthy friends didn’t lose any money,” Mr. Biden said. “He waved a white flag. He walked away. He didn’t do a damn thing. Think about it. Think about what he did not do. It’s almost criminal.”
And in an exchange with reporters Wednesday evening, asked whether he blamed Mr. Trump for “thousands of deaths” given the knowledge the president had earlier in the year, Mr. Biden replied: “Yes, I do. I absolutely do.”