"The ad clips Biden’s words out of context to misleadingly imply that Biden criticized Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China, when that’s not what Biden did," wrote Sargent. "Second, the ad relies on numerous past quotes from Biden to demonstrate he’s supposedly been soft on China. But those quotes were mostly boilerplate diplomatic language — and Trump has repeatedly praised China in language very close to what Biden has used ... And third, the Asian man that Biden bowed to turns out to be Gary Locke, a former Washington governor and U.S. ambassador to China, an American."
"But there’s a deeper absurdity here that needs to be appreciated," continued Sargent. "Throughout the early weeks of coronavirus, Trump repeatedly praised China’s handling of coronavirus. Importantly, this praise was central to advancing the argument that Trump had totally beaten down coronavirus with merciless force and efficiency: Trump kept insisting he was successfully collaborating with China to defeat it. Yet at around that same time, Biden was warning against taking China’s assurances about coronavirus at face value."
On February 25, for example, Trump praised China for "working very, very hard" to contain the virus, and that it's "going to go away" before it does real harm in America because China is "getting it more and more under control."
By contrast, on February 26, Biden said, "I would not be taking China's word for it. I would insist that China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it's from, how far along it is."
"What’s important here is that Trump’s repeated insistence that China had coronavirus under control was absolutely central to Trump’s own downplaying of coronavirus and to his suggestion that he had it under control and that it wasn’t a problem here," wrote Sargent. "By contrast, throughout this same period, Biden repeatedly said we should take coronavirus far more seriously, demanding that Trump let experts take over the response."
As Sargent argued, this line of attack is just the beginning of a broader narrative Trump will try to sell to voters, which is that he has gotten tough with China on trade and Biden has not. "Given what a disaster Trump’s trade wars have been in practice, and how nakedly plutocratic and anti-worker his agenda has been, that should be a winnable argument for Biden. And how he should prosecute it will be the subject of another post."
"But for now, let’s note that this new ad’s opening bid in this argument from Trump is utter nonsense on every level," concluded Sargent. "Once again, the truth is the direct opposite of what Trump claims it is — in a way that holds a mirror up to his ongoing failures, as his debunked lies so often do."
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