Biden targets Trump’s ‘disastrous’ pandemic response in DSU speech

DOVER — Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden on Friday called President Donald Trump’s pandemic response a disaster that cost thousands of American lives and millions of American jobs.

“Let’s be clear about something. The depth of this job crisis is not attributable to an act of God but to a failure of a president,” said Vice President Biden. “Truth is every country dealt with their job losses due to this pandemic. But America was hit much harder, out of the gate, due to complete incompetence and mismanagement of the response.”

Speaking on the Delaware State University campus in Dover before a media pool and select group of community members, Vice President Biden said “a Columbia University study found that 54,000 Americans would be alive today, lives saved, if the administration had acted just two weeks earlier.”

“Now, after over 110,000 American deaths, more than 20 million people still out of work, the consequences are clear; we’re still facing devastating unemployment and still facing an historic health crisis,” said the former vice president under Barack Obama.

The Republican National Committee issued a response, stating:

• Economists were bracing for another “devastating blow” in May, as they predicted the United States would lose another 8.5 million jobs. But due to President Trump’s efforts to save jobs and reopen the economy, the U.S. labor market added 2.5 million jobs in May, including 225,000 manufacturing jobs and 464,000 construction jobs.

• The May jobs gain was the biggest one-month jobs surge in U.S. history.

• A significant share of these gains went to minorities, with African Americans adding nearly 300,000 new jobs and Hispanic Americans adding more than 650,000 new jobs.

“While Joe Biden has been hunkered down and hiding in his basement, President Trump took action to save our economy,” said RNC spokesman Michael Joyce. “Thanks to President Trump’s efforts, America is starting to go back to work.”

“The fact is there is about 13 million fewer jobs today for American workers than the day President Obama and I left office. So, while it’s wonderful to see 10 percent of the families who lost their jobs due to Trump’s disastrous pandemic response start to make their way back, the president’s behavior makes me deeply worried for the 90 percent who haven’t,” Vice President Biden said.

“All those families who are scared, who are frightened, who are hurting, who are wondering what is going happen next, I want you to know I and a lot of others see you. We haven’t forgotten you. And I won’t be satisfied until this country starts working for everyone.”

Vice President Biden said it is time for President Trump “to step out of his own bunker, take a look around at the consequences of his words and his actions. Let’s be clear, a president who takes no responsibility for costing millions and millions of Americans their jobs, deserves no credit when a fraction of them return.”

In the coming weeks, the former vice president intends to “lay out a plan I have developed from my comprehensive plan not just to build back the economy the way it was before COVID-19 but to build it back better. It was already hurting for so many people; (this is) a plan to create millions of new, good-paying jobs and benefits where people get a fair return on work, where we make the country stronger, more resilient and more just.”

That plan, Vice President Biden said, is “anchored” in job-creating investments in small businesses, trillions of dollars of infrastructure, and investing in innovation, manufacturing and caregiving. He said he chose to delay unveiling his plan due to the racial and social unrest engulfing the country surrounding the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of Minneapolis police.

“I would already have done it had we not had the death, if (Mr. Floyd) had not been held up against the curb … ,” Vice President Biden said. “I will be introducing it very quickly.”

Vice President Biden said America is enduring a “continuing crisis of violence, injustice and indignity that is devastating black Americans and many Latinos. “We’re losing the soul of this country. There is a public health crisis, a job crisis, a crisis of inequity and indignity being endured by African Americans and many other people of color. Those three challenges alone are deeply connected to one another. So, the solutions have to be connected, as well.”

Vice President Biden said these are some of the “sternest challenges our nation has ever faced, and Donald Trump is patting himself on the back. He just has no idea in my view of what is really going on in this country. He has no idea of the depth of the pain that so many people are still enduring. He remains completely oblivious to the human toll.”

“But there is a deeper concern here,” Vice President Biden said. “As we recover some of the temporary job losses, we’re still not on track to grow back in a way that will actually really serve working people. President Trump is still rewarding wealth over work. All we hear coming out of the White House these days is calls for more tax cuts, for big investors, big corporations. They didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. That is who I fight for.”

Addressing the coronavirus crisis, Vice President Biden criticized President Trump’s response and failure to heed warnings.

“Let’s get something straight, the president did not act quickly when he was warned to act. For months, he downplayed the threat. He repeatedly praised China’s containment response despite a litany of public appeals from many people, including me, back in January not to let American lives and the U.S. economy … hang on the Chinese word, (that) the Chinese government was being truthful. He refused to take action to get adequate testing in place, allowing the virus to spread further than it should have.”

“America has 4% of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s deaths due to this pandemic,” Vice President Biden said. “It’s no secret why.”

He said Americans can’t afford to have any more of their time wasted.

“They need an economy that works for them, and they need it now. They need jobs that bring dignity and need it now. They need equal justice and equal opportunity, now. They need a president who cares about them, who cares about helping them heal, now. It can’t wait,” said Vice President Biden.

“We need justice, opportunity and hope. I have faith in the American people. We give them half a chance, and there is nothing they can’t do. We need to unite as one nation. When we have (united), we have never, ever, ever failed to solve the problems that face us at the moment,” he said.

“Look, every American has a choice to make in November, not simply to who they are going to have as their president or senators or congresspeople, but what kind of country do we want to be? What kind of economy do we want? And who will it serve?”