Former Vice President Joe Biden focused his televised remarks on coronavirus Thursday on protecting and supporting American workers, emphasizing the importance of accurate and honest information about the spread of COVID-19, and criticizing the Trump administration's handling of the crisis.
Speaking from Delaware, the state he represented in Congress for nearly 40 years, the former vice president criticized President Donald Trump for hollowing out government agencies, presenting guidance contradicting health officials, and failing to act quickly to understand and track the outbreak.
"Unfortunately this virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration. Public fears are being compounded by a pervasive lack of trust in this president. Fueled by adversarial relationships with the truth that he continues to have," he said.
Biden released his own plan in response to the spread of coronavirus, calling it a roadmap for what to do right now and invited the current administration to follow its guidelines while also slamming the White House for its "severe shortcomings" during the crisis.
"President Trump is welcome to adopt all of it today," he said of the strategy posted to his website, which proposes free testing and treatment, emergency paid leave to individuals affected, and "mounting an effective national emergency response."
The current Democratic primary frontrunner also announced a shift in his campaigning plans going forward, with virtual events replacing upcoming rallies and gatherings. Some U.S. states have already banned large, public gatherings.
Biden's remarks come as Congress, struggling to pass a bipartisan aid package, suspended its recess scheduled for next week. It was revealed the President had met a Brazilian official on Saturday who has since tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Despite this, the president not been tested according to the White House.
The former vice president also hearkened back to his time in the Obama administration and its handling of the Ebola crisis, which struck in 2014, and pointed out the Trump administration's elimination of the office that President Obama relied on during that outbreak.
Though vaccines will take some time, Biden said that therapeutics should be available soon and referenced the 21st Century Cures Act he had championed when it passed during his time in office. The law expedited the testing and approval of experimental medical treatments.
Of the likely economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the former VP said, "This crisis will hit everyone, but it will hit folks who live paycheck to paycheck the hardest, including working people and seniors, Another tax cut to Google or Goldman or millionaires won't get the job done."
Biden's rival Senator Bernie Sanders delivered his own remarks later in the day on how to respond to the crisis on Thursday afternoon as well, and former candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered her own remarks on the coronavirus weeks ago before she dropped out of the race.