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Biden tears into Trump in COVID-19 press conference

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  • During his coronavirus address Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden ticked through the Trump administration’s response, month by month, and offering his plan for how to better contain it.
  • It was the first time since March that Biden took questions from press.
  • Biden reiterated his call for Americans to wear masks in public: “It may be inconvenient. It may be uncomfortable. But it’s the right thing to do as an American.”
  • The Democratic nominee also called for more support for seniors isolating themselves from the virus, making Dr. Anthony Fauci more available, nationwide standards for reopening, and weekly updates on the virus.
  • “The American people don’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so they could just waste their time, and you can waste all the efforts that they have undertaken with your midnight rantings and tweets,” Biden said of President Donald Trump.
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Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden delivered a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus in a press conference Tuesday.

It was the first time Biden took questions from the press — aside from one-on-one interviews — since March.

“We don’t need a cheerleader Mr. President,” Biden said. “We need a president, Mr. President.”

Biden ticked through the Trump administration’s lackluster response month by month, offering his plan to contain the virus. 

He called for a nationwide testing and contact tracing program, nationwide standards for reopening, mandatory masks in public, support for seniors and other vulnerable Americans who have to isolate themselves from the virus, and ramped up production of personal protective equipment in addition to not only COVID-19 tests, but also flu vaccines.

“If you suspect these steps are a lot of the same things I was talking about in March when I released my first COVID-19 response, you’d be right,” Biden said. “

“If it feels like you’re hearing the experts talk about the same issues for months, you’d be right.”

On seniors — a vulnerable group to the virus and a key constituency with which Biden has begun peeling away from Trump in recent polling — Biden offered empathy and consideration for their plight in isolation.

“People, especially older Americans and those with loved ones in nursing homes — I get calls all the time — they’re simply scared. They’re frightened,” Biden said.

“This isn’t just taking a toll on their physical health. There’s an emotional cost as well,” Biden said. “We can’t expect vulnerable populations to quarantine indefinitely without support.

“I want them to know that their health and safety will be my responsibility if I’m your president, and I will not abandon you.”

Underscoring the American public’s frustration and confusion over the best ways to protect themselves from the virus, Biden tore into Trump for his refusal to wear a mask or even endorse their use.

Biden also reiterated his call for Americans to wear masks in public to protect each other from spreading the virus, with studies showing face coverings drastically reducing transmission if they are widely used.

“Wear a mask. It’s not just about you … It’s about keeping other people safe,” Biden said.

“It may be inconvenient. It may be uncomfortable. But it’s the right thing to do as an American: protect your coworkers and neighbors.”

Further lambasting the president, Biden called for Trump to take responsibility for the pandemic response as commander-in-chief.

“Now, it’s almost July, and it seems like our wartime president has surrendered,” Biden said, referencing Trump briefly calling himself a “wartime president” before reverting to happy talk and sidelining his top health officials from official White House appearances.

Biden also said he would call Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on day one of his potential administration, and ask the NIAID director to remain in his post with unfettered access to the Oval Office and American public.

While Biden’s default setting has been to refrain from any over the top attacks on opponents — even going so far as to caution against backseat driving while Trump is in office — he did not mince words on Tuesday.

“The American people don’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so they could just waste their time, and you can waste all the efforts that they have undertaken with your midnight rantings and tweets.”

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