(CNSNews.com) - Appearing on ABC's "This Week," former Vice President and 2020 hopeful Joe Biden was invited by host George Stephanopoulos to criticize the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak, and Biden obliged.
First, Biden repeated earlier press reports that the Trump administration is "muzzling" Dr. Anthony Fauci, which Fauci had firmly denied the day before.
"I have never been muzzled, ever," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a Saturday news conference called by the president. "And I've been doing this since the administration of Ronald Reagan. I'm not being muzzled by this administration.
"What happened, which was misinterpreted, is that we were set up to go on some shows. And when the vice president took over, he said, let's regroup and figure out how we're going to be communicating. So I had to just stand down on a couple of shows and resubmit for clearance. And when I resubmitted for clearance, I got cleared. So I have not been muzzled at all. That was a real misrepresentation of what happened," Fauci said.
In another misrepresentation, Biden on Sunday falsely stated, "they don't even have a test kit -- a test kit to determine whether or not someone has the disease."
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar refuted Biden's accusation a few minutes later. Also appearing ABC's "This Week," Azar told Stephanopoulos:
"Well, we've already tested over 3,600 people here in the United States. I'm not sure what he (Biden) meant when he said there's no lab kit, because we, with historic speed, the CDC developed a lab test. I -- we granted emergency use authorization to it at FDA. We promulgated it out in the country...So we've always been open for business at CDC for testing. We've had full through-put. We've had no delays on testing there."
Azar said as of Saturday morning, "we've authorized home-brew tests by certified clinical labs around the country. As I said, we now have 75 -- the ability to test 75,000 people in the field at this moment. And that will increase radically over the next couple of weeks."
Azar added that anyone who is tested for flu or any unidentified respiratory distress will also be tested for coronavirus: "I want to expand that kind of surveillance testing nationwide. As soon as Congress gets us the money (the emergency supplemental request), that will be out there throughout the country."
Here is Biden's full (and faulty) criticism of the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak:
Stephanopoulos asked Biden: "How would the overall response to this virus have been different if you were president?"
"It would have been fundamentally different," Biden said:
We set up a whole system in the Ebola virus and -- with the Ebola disease that we were all concerned about a trans-pandemic disease that existed.
And, look, right now you have this president, hasn't allowed his scientists to speak, number one. He has the vice president speaking, not the scientists who know what they're talking about, like Fauci.
Number two, they haven't even prepared a test kit to determine whether or not anybody has the virus. They're not even available. They say now they'll be available in -- in -- by the end of the week or next week. They haven't set up a pattern in how to proceed.
They don't -- they -- they've cut the funding for the CDC. They've cut the -- the Centers for Disease Control. They've cut the funding for -- they've tried to cut the funding for NIH, the National Institute of Health.
They have eliminated the office we set up -- we set up in the president's office to deal with pandemic diseases. This has been outrageous the way they proceeded. They should let the scientists speak.
I've been talking about this for a while, they haven't -- they don't even have a test kit. A test kit to determine whether or not someone has the disease.
Look, this is about knowing where it is, who has it, and how to deal with it. And I see -- I see no preparedness other than a political talking points, putting someone in charge who is not a scientist and not -- and muzzling the scientist. Mr. Fauci's been here -- anyway, all the way back to the Bush administration. What's going on here?
This is not a Democratic hoax. This is incompetence on the part of the president of the United States at the expense of the country and the world.
President Trump, at Saturday's news conference, was asked about his use of the word "hoax."
Trump said "hoax" refers to "the action that they (his critics) take to try to pin this on somebody, because we've done such a good job...I'm not talking about what's happening here. I'm talking what they're doing.
“That's the hoax. That's just a continuation of the hoax. Whether it's the impeachment hoax or the Russia-Russia-Russia hoax; this is what I'm talking about. Certainly not referring to this (coronavirus). How could anybody refer to this, this is very serious."