Joe Biden warned that coronavirus “isn’t showing any signs of slowing down” as the Democratic presidential nominee once again criticized President Trump’s handling of the federal response to the pandemic.
And in a speech Friday in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the former vice president vowed that if elected, he’d implement a national strategy “to finally get ahead of this virus.”
Biden spoke on a day when the national death toll from the pandemic stood at more than 223,000, with more than 8.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
“COVID-19 dwarfs anything we’ve faced in recent history. And it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The virus is surging in almost every state,” Biden warned.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about coronavirus at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
And pointing to a comment the president made at a televised town hall at the White House with the Sinclair Broadcasting Network, Biden said that “when Trump was asked this week what he’d do differently to get the pandemic response right from the start, his answer was and I quote ‘not much.’”
At Thursday night’s second and final presidential debate between the two nominees, Biden once again accused the president of initially downplaying the severity of the virus and botching the federal response.
The president during the debate touted his administration’s efforts and said “we’re fighting it and we’re fighting it hard.” He spotlighted that “I’ve been congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we’ve been able to do with the — if you take a look at what we’ve done in terms of goggles and masks and gowns and everything else, and in particular, ventilators.” And Trump once again predicted that when it comes to the virus, “we’re rounding the corner, it’s going away.”
On Friday, Biden asked “If this is a success, what does a failure look like.”
He charged that “we’re more than eight months into this crisis and the president still doesn’t have a plan. He’s given up. He’s quit on you. He’s quit on your family. He’s quit on America. He just wants us to grow num and resigned to the horrors of this death toll and the pain it’s causing so many Americans.”
Looking back to the president’s coronavirus comments at Thursday night’s debate, Biden argued that Trump lied and “diminished the pain” of the American people.
Looking ahead to what he’d do if elected, the former vice president pledged “to immediately put in place a national strategy that will position our country to finally get ahead of this virus and get back our lives.”
He explained that he’ll “reach out to every governor in every state, red and blue, as well as mayors and local officials, during transition, to find out what support they need and how much of it they need. I’ll ask the new Congress to put a bill on my desk by the end of January with all the resources necessary to see how both our public health and economic response can be seen through the end, what is needed.”
Biden also emphasized that “once we have vaccine, it must be free to everyone whether or not you’re insured.” He called it “despicable” that the president “is fighting to get Supreme Court to strike down Affordable Care Act.” And he argued that overturning the landmark national health care law best known as Obamacare “would mean people have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Trump campaign fired back, tweeting that “Joe Biden is lying about the coronavirus vaccine. The Trump Administration announced a plan to make the vaccine free for all Americans over a month ago.”
The coronavirus, along with an economy severely deflated by the pandemic, are the top two issues on the minds of American voters.
The latest Fox News polling indicates that in three key battleground states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – voters by double digits say Biden would do a better job than the president combating the coronavirus. In another swing state – Ohio – the survey showed Biden with a single digit advantage on the issue.
Fox New’s Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report.