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Biden makes major gaffe on coronavirus death tally, Trump questions his competence

After Biden wrongly says 120 million have died, Trump declares: 'We're talking about the presidency of the United States, and it's just not acceptable.'

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Biden speaks on coronavirus, March 12, 2020
Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 in Wilmington, Del., March 12, 2020.
(Saul Loeb/Getty)
Updated: June 25, 2020 - 11:43pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

President Trump called Joe Biden's verbal gaffe about widely overstating the number of coronavirus deaths "a serious error" and implied that Biden might not have sufficient mental capacity to run the country.

The presumptive Democratic nominee during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania Thursday mistakenly said more than 120 million people had died from the coronavirus.

However, there have been nearly 122,000 – not million -- coronavirus deaths in the United States as of Thursday, according to mortality data from Johns Hopkins University

"He said that?" Trump asked in stunned disbelief during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity airing Thursday night. "So that's a third of our population....I mean, he said that?"

"Yes, sir," Hannity replied. 

"That's too bad," Trump said. "Can I be honest? That's too bad. But you know, I want to be a nice guy I think I am a nice guy, I'm proud of being [one], I love people ... But this is a serious business. We can't have somebody--this is not a mistake. That's a serious error. When he says he's running for the U.S. Senate, that's a serious error. When he says 'I'm going to beat Joe Biden'-- which got very little coverage. That's not like an error, or gee, it's a slip up. It's a serious error.

”So when you just told me that, I hadn't heard that, that just happened, I guess. That's a serious error, that's not a permissible type of error, because there's something going on. And you know it's wonderful to say 'gee, I feel sorry,' or 'that's too bad,' because I do. Except we're talking about the presidency of the United States, and it's just not acceptable."

Trump later in the program said that if Biden won the White House, even though Trump thinks Biden is not far left that he would be controlled by people who would pull him further left.

"He's shot, he's shot," Trump said, decrying what he called a leftward lurch in the Democratic Party. "There's nobody in the center or center left. It's a disgrace what's happened to our country .... he will be run by a radical group of fringe lunatics." 

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