Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday called for a sweeping national response to the coronavirus outbreak and chided President Donald Trump’s response as woefully insufficient. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #JoeBiden
“The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation,” Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “It will not discriminate on national origin, race, gender or zip code.” Biden and Bernie Sanders were delivering separate addresses on the coronavirus less than 24 hours after Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office about a public health crisis he’d previously downplayed.
Biden aides pitched his speech as a demonstration of how he might conduct himself as president in response to a severe challenge, while contrasting himself with a Republican president he has lambasted as erratic and incompetent.
The event also allowed Biden to juxtapose his style and approach with that of Sanders, his last remaining rival for the Democratic nomination.
The Vermont senator plans to give his own speech later Thursday afternoon in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont.
Biden now leads Sanders by more than 150 delegates after winning four more state primaries Tuesday, with Washington state still being counted. And his advantage could expand considerably next Tuesday when the delegate-rich states of Florida, Illinois and Ohio hold primaries.
For Biden, the ideal was to give voters a practical example of one of his core arguments: that he’d be ready on Inauguration Day to handle whatever trials reach the Oval Office. In some ways, the dynamics recall the financial crisis that mushroomed late in the summer of 2008. The meltdown further damaged outgoing President George W. Bush and his Republican Party, dealing GOP nominee John McCain a new setback and granting a wider opening for Democratic nominee Barack Obama and his running mate, Biden. But that unfolded weeks before the election — Biden must keep making his case for nearly eight months.
Biden and Sanders have both canceled public events ahead of next Tuesday’s primaries, yielding to public health officers and elected officials who are discouraging large campaign rallies. The pair will meet in a debate Sunday night on CNN, without a live audience.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Sanders is 78. Biden is 77.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Regardless of how Biden handles the moment, the coronavirus outbreak comes at a political juncture for him.
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In This Story: Donald Trump
This story features US President Donald Trump. Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. See more Donald Trump news here.