Joe Biden said Monday that President Donald Trump is responsible for contracting Covid-19 because he often refuses to wear a mask around others.
"Look, anyone who gets the virus by essentially saying," Masks don't matter; social distancing doesn't matter "- I think he's responsible for what happens to you," Biden told NBC News in Miami during a Lester Holt-hosted city hall.
The town hall took place in front of a socially distant audience. Biden said if those in attendance took off their masks and huddled, they too would be responsible for what happened.
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"They are taking on the responsibilities that they should actually be held responsible for because every great scientist, doctor, and immunologist has said this is a very dangerous thing," Biden said. "The particles and droplets can stay in the air for a long time, longer than expected."
Biden's comments came shortly after Trump left Walter Reed Military Hospital after being treated for three days for a coronavirus infection that became known early Friday. Melania Trump, the first lady, also tested positive.
Biden, who tops Trump in national polls and several swing state polls, previously wished both the president and first lady a speedy recovery.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Biden's remarks.
In a video that Trump posted on Twitter shortly after leaving the hospital on Monday, he admitted that his actions led to his contraction of the virus, but defended them as necessary.
"As your leader, I had to do this, I knew there was a danger, but I had to do it," Trump said. "I was in front. I was leading. Nobody who is a leader would not do what I did. And I know there is a risk, there is a danger, but that's okay."
Trump mocked Biden's frequent wearing of masks during the first presidential debate, which was held Tuesday. Trump said he wore a mask when needed, but "I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him he has a mask."
Trump said during the debate that Biden's mask was "the greatest mask I've ever seen".
On Monday, Biden said he was pleased to hear Trump's doctors say his condition was improving. But he said that given his experience with the president, he wasn't shocked to learn that he had been infected.
"To be honest, I wasn't surprised," he said.
Vice-presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will meet in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.