Dem presidential candidate Joe Biden in his Wisconsin visit Monday said President Trump choked when it came to his responsibility to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden accused the president of always attempting to change the subject whenever reporters ask him about COVID-19. Biden also noted recordings from author Bob Woodward where Trump himself admitted he knew how dangerous the virus was in its early days while still publicly playing it down.

“Due to Donald Trump’s lies and incompetence in the past six months we’ve seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history, in history,” Biden said during a half-hour speech inside the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry in Manitowoc. “He said he didn’t want to start a panic. Trump panicked. The virus was too big for him.”

As the country reaches over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, Biden warned viewers against becoming numb to the data. He said those numbers mean there are now empty chairs at dining room tables across the country “where just days or weeks or months ago loved ones sat and laughed and talked.”

Biden, who wore a mask throughout the whole speech, also asked viewers to “look closely” the next time Trump holds a rally. He said the president at the indoor events makes sure to keep his distance from his supporters out of coronavirus concerns, even as the crowds are often packed shoulder-to-shoulder with very few masks.

He said Trump’s avoidance of supporters highlights how he never actually respected them. And he equated the president to neighborhood bullies from his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pa., who “think they’re better than you.”

Biden noted reports from former White House aide Olivia Troye that Trump called the deadly pandemic “a good thing” because now he doesn’t have to shake his supporters’ hands.

Biden told viewers Trump ran last cycle on the promise that he spoke for “the forgotten men,” but that he himself forgot them as soon as he was elected. He said the Republican tax bill Trump signed in 2017 overwhelmingly helped the ultra-wealthy and corporations and would cost billions of dollars to sustain every year.

“And whose hide do you think that’s going to be taken out of?” he asked. “The simple truth is that Donald Trump ran for office saying he would represent the forgotten men and women of this country — and then once in office, he forgot them.”

Biden promised he’s running to be “an American president” who represents all people, in all states, whether they vote for him or not. He called the November election a chance to “put the anger and the division and the darkness that has overtaken this country in the past few years behind us” and to overcome every one of the challenges the country is facing today.

Biden’s event was in Manitowoc County, which flipped from voting for President Obama in 2008 by 8 percentage points to voting for President Trump in 2016 by 21.4 points.

Ahead of the event, former 7th CD U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy slammed Biden’s economic record and praised Trump for making Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry “alive and well.”

The Wausau Republican, alongside Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce President Kurt Bauer, touted the president’s deregulatory efforts and warned a Biden victory could mean the state would have to suffer a “radical environmental agenda” and additional job losses to China that would bring down the economy.

“I think (Biden) understands that Democrats have lost the working man in Wisconsin and across the country because their policies haven’t actually helped men and women who are union members, but also put their boots on every day and make an honest day’s wage,” he said. “It’s rich that Joe Biden is going to an aluminum factory in Manitowoc when President Trump has fought to make sure that aluminum and steel is alive and well in Wisconsin and across the country.”

Duffy resigned from Congress last fall, citing family obligations.

Additionally, Bauer called Trump’s economic record in the state “nothing short of extraordinary” and told reporters that, “from a business perspective,” his economic work alone should be enough to win him another four years in the White House.

Trump spokeswoman Anna Kelly in a separate statement said Biden’s visit to the state is only an attempt to “save face and cover up his extensive record of expanding Chinese influence in America at the expense of American workers.”

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