“In times of crisis, the American people deserve a president who tells them the truth and takes responsibility. Unfortunately, President Trump has not been that president,” Biden told reporters on a 30-minute conference call that began shortly after Trump left the podium in the White House briefing room.
“He is falsely telling us he’s taking action he has not taken, promising results he’s not delivering and announcing actions that he has not even ordered,” Biden said, adding that “the president has been behind the curve throughout this whole response.”
It was Biden’s most forceful and extended remarks on the subject to date, reflecting an effort to demonstrate his command of the issue and contrast himself with Trump. Biden indicated that he plans to continue trying to amplify his voice on the subject, speaking out more frequently starting next week.
The former vice president called on Trump to do more to ensure that Americans can be tested for covid-19. He said there should be daily reports on the status of treatments and vaccines.
And Biden said more should be done to prepare hospitals. Experts warn U.S. medical facilities could be swamped with patients in coming weeks. Already, doctors warn they lack essential treatment tools like ventilators, masks and protective gear.
“We’re taking too damn long to decide whether or not to start to mobilize and build hospitals,” Biden said. “They should be on the ground doing that right now.”
During the briefing, Biden occasionally spoke directly to Trump.
“Stop saying false things, will ya?” he said. “Stop saying false things that make you sound like a hero … Stop, stop, stop swerving between over-promising, buck-passing, and start delivering protection to our people.”
Biden said that he spends about seven hours each day making calls about the pandemic. He said he is in frequent contact with House and Senate leaders, as well as with mayors and governors around the country, and his health and economic teams.
When campaign aides occasionally visit his house, he said, they put on masks and wear gloves.
On Friday, Biden also outlined some economic proposals to ease the huge financial toll of the crisis. He called for a surge of money into the economy, but also began laying out some parameters to prevent large corporations from take advantage of a stimulus.
“Any large business that in fact gets helped by this, they are going to have to pay back what is lent them to stay in business,” Biden said. “They’re going to have to make sure any aid they get does not go to buying back their stock, does not go to increasing benefits for the management, etcetera.”
Biden also said he planned to communicate more regularly with the American public, saying that his campaign was exploring ways to have in-person regular press conferences either nearby his home in Wilmington, Del., or else virtually.
“They tell me there’s ways in which we can do teleconferencing via us all being in different locations,” Biden said. “The bottom line is that everything from providing better access to where I physically live and be able to broadcast from there as well as our headquarters is underway,” he added. “We’ve hired a professional team to do that now. And if you excuse the expression, it’s a little above my pay grade how to do that. But that’s desperately what we’re trying to do because I want to be in daily or at least, you know, significant contact with the American people.”
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