Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, March 9, blamed President Donald Trump for the plunge in U.S. stock market, arguing that his mixed messaging about the coronavirus contributed to the market turmoil.
Wall Street suffered a historic sell-off session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 7.8% and the S&P 500 plummeted 7.6%, their worst day since 2008. Analysts said the market was roiled by an all-out oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, in addition to the current coronavirus outbreak.
In an interview with MSNBC’s host Lawrence O’Donnell, Biden was focusing on the coronavirus to attack President Trump.
Asked if he thinks the rout on Monday, which led to a temporary trading halt, is “a reaction to the markets realizing the president simply does not tell them or the world or this country the truth about this situation,” Biden responded, “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. Now, who can say? But I think there’s no confidence in the president in anything he says or does,” Biden said.
During the interview, Biden said that the incumbent president has “no competence” in handling the coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, the president has very—no competence in how to handle this crisis,” Biden said.
According to the Democratic presidential candidate, the Trump administration has not moved to take advantage of the capability that exists within the health community, not prepared local hospitals, not trained personnel, and not followed the directions of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and had little coordination with the rest of the world in how to deal with the virus.
“This is the reason you see the markets falling and people are very upset,” Biden said.
The threat of coronavirus was downplayed by President Trump on Monday when he compared it to the common flu that kills tens of thousands of American people per year.
“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” he wrote in a tweet.
The president also said on Monday that his administration will ask Congress for payroll tax relief and other quick measures to help protect from the spread of coronavirus.
On Tuesday morning, the stock market recovered some of their losses, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 rose more than 3% in early trade.