Biden spoke to the nation on Thursday night in his first primetime address since taking office, marking the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organisation officially recognising the Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
In his speech, the president outlined the next phase of the government’s response to the virus and announced that every American adult would be eligible for a Covid vaccine by 1 May, with the goal of getting life back to a version of “normalcy” by Independence Day.
The address contrasted sharply from Trump’s statement on the same date last year, which failed to calm fears about the fast-spreading virus.
As the video below shows, the difference in tone between the two speeches was obvious:
Two presidents. One year apart. https://t.co/BJwL7QTJz9
One clear difference was between the hubris of the Trump administration’s early response to the pandemic and Biden’s tone of sorrow for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost over the past year…
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history. I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”
“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months. That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness. Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era.”
And even as he laid out how vaccines could help the country to enjoy a more open Independence Day on 4 July, the current US president still warned that things could get worse:
“This fight is far from over, as I told the woman in Pennsylvania, I will tell you the truth. On 4 July, with your loved ones, is the goal. A lot can happen. Conditions can change. The scientists have made clear things may get worse again…”
Compare that to Trump’s bullish statement, in which he said the risk was “very, very low” for the vast majority of Americans:
“If we are vigilant, and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.”
It was also striking how Biden called out the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans over the past year, who he said had been “attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated” during the pandemic:
Biden calls out the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic, saying they're "attacked, hara… https://t.co/dKcfyH89XI
In contrast, Trump repeatedly mentioned China in his speech (and at other times referred to the “China virus”) while labelling Covid-19 as a “foreign virus”.
Most importantly, Biden’s address contained a clear plan for how the US could get the pandemic under control, while Trump offered bluster about US experts being “the best anywhere in the world” and vague details about travel bans and funding for vaccines.
Trump promised 20 million would be vaccinated by the end of 2020 and only 3 million were. Biden promised 100 millio… https://t.co/WFOzKxa2gm