‘It’s a matter of the president doing what can most effectively get things done now…’
(Liberty Headlines) Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, said Thursday that he wants to speak with President Donald Trump in the hope that the president can “learn some lessons” from the Obama administration on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve been through this in a slightly different way in the past, and I hope they can learn some lessons from what we did right and maybe what we did wrong,” the former vice president said during a virtual press briefing.
The gaffe-prone septuagenarian has spent much of his time in seclusion since the virus outbreak in the U.S. began to accelerate in early March. Even so, he was facing questions over whether a Michigan rally he hosted might have contributed to the pandemic’s rapid spread there.
Biden’s relative absence from the public state, whether by design or happenstance, allowed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a frequent Trump-basher, to fill the void as Democrats’ de facto mouthpiece.
The Empire State has been very much the epicenter of the U.S. crisis during the pandemic, with Cuomo vocally complaining about supply shortages in his regular daily press conferences.
Some Democrats, already concerned about Biden’s precarious mental alacrity, have proposed a #DraftCuomo movement that would seek to push for a contested Democratic convention.
Facing newfound pressure to make himself relevant, Biden’s aides have said they’re working to arrange a phone call with Trump to address his coronavirus response.
The president said Wednesday that he would “love” to speak with Biden.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump was being sarcastic. However, the president has been known to engage adversaries such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while setting aside policy differences and even heated rhetoric.
Biden, the prospective Democratic presidential nominee, would likely hope to tout his work in addressing the Ebola crisis that unfolded in 2014 as a possible model for how the federal government should deal with the current pandemic.
In recent weeks, Biden has offered his own proposals for dealing with the outbreak, which include expanding health care access, bolstering banks’ lending ability and pushing out supplies to hospitals faster.
Biden said on Thursday that he hoped, in particular, that Trump would expand the use of the Defense Production Act, which would shift U.S. manufacturing capabilities to focus on creating urgently needed medical supplies. But he also said if he spoke with Trump, he wouldn’t try to claim credit for the president’s moves.
“I think there’s things that the president can use early on from the experience we had before and take a look at it, and if he did, I wasn’t going to be out there saying he took my idea,” Biden said.
“It’s a matter of the president doing what can most effectively get things done now,” he added.
The two potential rivals have had acrimonious relations at times, including a heated exchange two years ago in which Biden threatened to “beat the hell” out of Trump, to which the president replied that Biden would “go down fast” in a fight.
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Trump’s efforts to encourage Ukraine to re-open a corruption investigation that might potentially have ensnared both Biden and his son Hunter added further fuel to the 2020 campaign Dumpster-fire before the coronavirus disrupted many aspects of normal American life, politics included.
As he addressed reporters, Biden mentioned previous conversations with Trump, calling them “respectful” and “straightforward” without offering details.
However, a Biden press aide confirmed after Thursday’s briefing that the two men have not spoken since the former vice president launched his presidential bid last April.
Biden was also critical of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stated opposition to a fourth coronavirus response package. Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have discussed a massive infrastructure plan, with the president floating a $2 trillion price tag.
“The majority leader of the Senate was wrong and slow last time around,” Biden said, referring to the most recent $2.2 trillion economic aid package that Trump already signed, “and he’s wrong and slow this time around.”
Even as Biden insisted he wanted a good-faith call with Trump and would be happy for the president to take his recommendations on dealing with the crisis, he continued to criticize Trump’s response to the crisis as too slow and suggested it was difficult for Americans to trust him.
Implementing a relief package like the one Trump signed last week, Biden said, “takes more than tweets and press conferences. It’s hard. It’s painstaking work.”
“He hadn’t had a great record so far when it comes to delivering real help to the American people in a timely fashion,” he added. “I hope this time is different.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press