Joe Biden went after President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a campaign speech Wednesday that was heavy on criticism but relatively light on solutions to the outbreak that has slammed the US economy.
“There are the steps we need to take, be taking now to steer us steadily and strongly in the right direction, to see us through this time, to make a more resilient future. They’re all available,” Biden told a small gathering at the Darby Borough Recreation Center in Darby, Pennsylvania, the former veep’s home state and potentially a key swing state in 2020.
“We have to do everything we can to avoid deadly spikes in the infections as people begin to go back out into the world. We’re not that much better prepared today for the run of cases that overfills our intensive care units than we were three months ago,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee asserted.
“We have to help give people the assurance and precautions that are necessary to restart the economy with confidence. If Americans lose what faith they have left, what little faith they have left in the government’s ability to manage this pandemic, we’ll see much deeper and longer lasting economic impacts,” he continued.
He then accused Trump of being MIA in the fight against the pandemic, which has killed roughly 117,000 Americans in just over three months.
Joe Biden speaks today in Darby, Pa.AP
“Mr. President, don’t leave the American people to face this threat on their own with no guidance, resources, or leadership from the federal government. Don’t leave our frontline workers exposed without the resources needed,” he said.
”The American people need confidence and clear guidance, grounded in science that’s going to allow them to resume their daily lives. American businesses need the support of a federal government to continue to backstop them through this phase of reopening, and workers need assurances that their health is your first concern,” Biden declared.
He argued that after three years, the president was still not up to the job of commander in chief — but that he would hit the ground running if elected.
“Americans need a president who will put the American people first, not his or her own ego. America needs a president who will do the work. I’m ready on day one. After more than three years in office, why isn’t Donald Trump ready? Mr. President, wake up. Get to work, there’s so much more to be done,” said Biden, in an apparent jab at Trump for dubbing him “Sleepy Joe.”
The speech was part of the Biden’s campaign to get him out on the trail more, as he’s spent weeks in the basement of his Delaware home during the pandemic, venturing out only to Pennsylvania for several events.
Biden in Philadelphia last week rolled out his plan to reopen the US economy as states lift restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Biden at that time vowed to guarantee testing and protective equipment for people called back to work, while banning discrimination against elderly Americans and others at high risk of contracting the virus.
The former veep also wants to use federal funds to ensure paid leave for anyone who falls ill or has to care for people who do.
He proposed a national contact tracing workforce or “job corps” of at least 100,000 to call people who test positive, track down their contacts and get them into quarantine.
Biden also pledged a “Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard,” where Americans could check the virus’ spread by zip code. He also backed more funding for schools and child care centers as they reopen and the creation of a “safe shopper” program meant to make returning consumers less leery of getting sick.