Trump and Biden Speak Over the Phone About Coronavirus Response

Mairead McArdle

President Trump and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden spoke over the phone about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic hours after criticizing each other earlier on Monday.

“Vice President Biden and President Trump had a good call,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. “VP Biden shared several suggestions for actions the administration can take now to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and expressed his appreciation for the spirit of the American people in meeting the challenges facing the nation.”

Trump took aim at the former vice president earlier in the day, calling into question Biden’s motives for proposing that the Democratic convention scheduled for August in Milwaukee be moved online.

“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?”

Moments later, Biden hit back in his own tweet, calling on the president to handle the pandemic so the convention can be held in person.

“Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic,” Biden wrote.

The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Thursday that the convention will be postponed from its original dates during the week of July 13 until the week of August 17 over coronavirus fears. Biden had asked earlier for the convention to be at least delayed if not held virtually.

Trump said Wednesday that he would “absolutely” love to speak with Biden.

“I’d love to speak to him too,” Trump told reporters. “I always found him to be a nice guy. I don’t know him very well, frankly, but I think he’s probably a nice guy. No, if he’d like to call, I’d absolutely take his call. You can tell him.”

Biden has remained largely out of sight as states and the federal government have scrambled to address the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. but released a detailed plan earlier this month on how to address the pandemic.

Biden’s plan proposes “decisive” public health and economic responses that include free testing, vaccine development, and improving health care capacity as well as paid sick leave for affected employees and assistance for both families and state and local governments.

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