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President Trump's 2020 campaign is firing back at former Vice President Joe Biden's team, arguing that the Democratic front-runner wasn't following his own directive about heeding the advice of experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who's leading the administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the former vice president specifically urged people to listen to experts like Fauci. He also released a video earlier this week in which he touted his decision to sound the alarm about the virus earlier in January.
But Trump campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Clark told Fox News that Biden was hypocritical since he himself had opposed a travel ban which Fauci has praised.
“Joe Biden failed to follow his own advice and listen to experts like Dr. Fauci," Clark said. "If Biden had been in charge, more Americans would have contracted the virus more quickly. President Trump’s China travel restrictions saved lives, according to health experts, but Biden attacked them as ‘hysterical xenophobia.’ This once again raises serious questions about Joe Biden’s poor judgement and capacity to lead.”
Clark pointed to how Klain, who served as the "ebola czar" under former President Barack Obama, suggested a travel ban was inappropriate during a CNBC appearance on January 28. “I wouldn’t, I think that’s premature," he said when asked about a ban.
The controversy came as Trump has received criticism from Democrats over his response to the virus. Last week, Biden's campaign released a video in which one of the former vice president's top aides, Ronald Klain, accuses Trump of suppressing experts' warnings about the pandemic and weakening the government's ability to deal with it. The Washington Post called Klain's ad "false" for claiming that Trump silenced a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official.
Trump has won repeated praise from Fauci, however, for his earlier decision to place restrictions on travel from China and Europe. Fauci also stood alongside Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, who announced the travel restrictions on China on Jan. 31.
On that same day, Biden seemed to describe the ban as "hysterical xenophobia."
“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia -- hysterical xenophobia -- and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science," he said during a campaign stop.
Biden's campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
But when the Trump campaign previously called out Biden's xenophobia comment and accused him of incompetence, Biden's spokesman reportedly accused them of projection.
"This is projection, pure and simple -- a classic Trump campaign move. They are trying to attack Vice President Biden on an issue that President Trump has badly mishandled," spokesman TJ Ducklo said. "Weeks ago, Vice President Biden called for President Trump to press China for greater transparency about the origins of the virus, which could have helped limit the spread of the virus and which now would help our scientists and public health professionals combat the epidemic here at home. That hasn't happened."
Ducklo added that Trump has "lavished praise" on Chinese leader Xi Jinping. "Instead, Trump lavished praise on Xi Jinping for his handling of the outbreak. So, instead of obvious, and frankly lame, efforts to deflect responsibility, why doesn't President Trump do his job?" Ducklo asked.