Biden signaled that he shared the questioner’s concern that Trump frequently refers to the pandemic as the “China virus,” saying, “the way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening.”

“No sitting president has ever done this,” Biden said. “Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”

Trump and other White House officials have routinely referred to covid-19 as the “China virus,” or the “Wuhan virus,” and even, “the Kung Flu.” Many have accused the president of stoking xenophobia against Asians.

“And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together,” Biden continued. “Look what he’s doing now. He’s blaming everything on China. … He’s using it as a wedge.”