Former Vice President Joe Biden claims he was not part of the Obama administration’s response to the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009 despite having previously taken credit for it on his presidential campaign page.
In a CNN town hall Friday night, the Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether the Obama administration should have done more to prepare for another outbreak.
“I wasn’t part of it,” Biden claimed.
“Our administration spent a lot of time working with the incoming Trump administration laying out exactly what could happen with a future pandemic and that they were likely, not unlikely, to occur,” the former vice president added.
So weird. Every time Joe Biden is confronted with a FAILURE of the Obama admin, suddenly, instead of taking credit for everything, Joe was AWOL
What about those masks that were depleted after swine flu?
“I wasn’t a part of it.”
He then lies again about closing pandemic office pic.twitter.com/mjk6xC57NX
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 28, 2020
Biden’s involvement in the Obama administration’s response to the H1N1 outbreak has been scrutinized recently.
On his campaign website, the former vice president took credit for the “effective response” to the outbreak in 2009.
“He helped lead the Obama-Biden Administration’s effective response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic,” the website reads.
That language remained on his website as of late Saturday morning, despite his statement during Friday’s town hall event.
In response to Biden’s criticism of Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has in return called out Biden’s leadership — or lack thereof — during the 2009 global pandemic.
“Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people,” Trump tweeted. “The response was one of the worst on record.”
Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people. The response was one of the worst on record. Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020
“Our response is one of the best,” Trump added, “with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!”
Even Biden seemed forced to admit closing our borders was a good move.
“Pandemics don’t get stopped by walls being built, they cross borders quickly and easily,” Biden told CNN.
Unlike Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading up the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, Biden himself was not in charge of the Obama administration’s H1N1 response team, according to archives reviewed by PolitiFact, so it is unclear what the Biden website’s claim means when it says that Biden “helped lead the Obama-Biden Administration’s effective response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.”
A 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated “between 43 million and 88 million cases of 2009 H1N1 occurred between April 2009 and March 13, 2010.”
During that time, the number of H1N1 deaths was estimated between 8,720 and 18,050, with a midpoint of 12,270.
Comparatively, as of Saturday morning, there are 105,470 cases of coronavirus in the United States with 1,710 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
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