Biden says COVID killed more Americans than US war in Iran
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President Biden on Thursday said that COVID-19 killed more Americans than all wars of the past century combined — including the US war in Iran, which never happened.
The apparent gaffe during a speech in North Carolina followed a bizarre presidential performance at the White House, where Biden loudly whispered several replies to reporters while discussing a bipartisan infrastructure deal.
“We lost 600,000 dead in America in about a year,” Biden said in North Carolina.
“That’s more than every life lost in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Iraq, Iran, across the board — Afghanistan. More lives lost in a year than every major war in the 20th century and the 21st century.”
The US has not fought a major conflict in Iran, though tensions have been high for decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution
“Somebody ask Biden when we had a war with Iran. I must’ve missed it,” wrote one Twitter user.
Another asked, “Did Joe Biden just declare war on Iran/!? He just listed that among the wars the US has gotten involved.”
Eight US troops died in Iran when a helicopter crashed in 1980 during a mission to rescue hostages. But more Americans died in an array of minor conflicts. For example, 19 US troops died during the 1983 invasion of Grenada and 40 died during the 1989 invasion of Panama.
Biden was in North Carolina promoting COVID-19 vaccination. Nearly 66 percent of US adults have received at least one vaccine dose and 56.2 percent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Biden said it was understandable that some racial and ethnic groups were more hesitant to get vaccinated.
“The reason why it’s been harder to get African Americans, initially, to get vaccinated is because they are used to be an experimented on — the Tuskegee Airmen and others,” Biden said.
“It’s awful hard as well to get Latinx vaccinated as well. Why? They’re worried that they will be vaccinated and deported.”
Biden encouraged vaccination nonetheless, warning that the new Delta variant of COVID-19 is more contagious. He claimed he was “widely criticized” for encouraging younger people to get vaccinated.
Biden also called for more political civility, saying the US has “never been as divided as it is today since the Civil War. And folks, it’s such a waste of talent. It’s such a waste of time.”
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