Joe Biden used his much hyped public address on the coronavirus pandemic to take political shots at President Donald Trump.
The former vice president, who looks to be a shoe-in for the Democrat nomination, unveiled his proposal for containing the virus on Thursday in a speech that was billed by supporters as commander-in-chief-worthy. Neither Biden nor the speech, in fact, lived up to that hype. Instead of urging unity and calm in the face of the growing pandemic, Biden took the opportunity to lambast Trump for ignoring science, having an “adversarial relationship with the truth,” and promoting racism.
“Unfortunately, this virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration,” the former vice president said on Thursday. “Public fears are being compounded by [a] pervasive lack of trust in this president, fueled by an adversarial relationship with the truth.”
In order to combat the virus, Biden argued it was paramount to have leadership that was open-minded and willing to cooperate across national boundaries. He said:
Our government’s ability to respond effectively has been undermined by hollowing out our agencies and the disparagement of science. Our ability to derive a global response is dramatically undercut by the damage Trump has done to our credibility and our relationships around the world.
Even though many of the solutions Biden proposed are already being implemented by the federal government, the former vice president went on to accuse Trump of sowing fear and racial division. Biden, in particular, claimed that Trump’s attempt to hold China accountable for failing to contain the virus were emboldening racism and “xenophobia.”
“Labeling COVID-19 a ‘foreign virus’ does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration,” the former vice president said. “Let me be crystal clear: the coronavirus does not have a political affiliation.”
“Acts of racism and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community must not be tolerated,” Biden added.
The speech comes one day after the Biden campaign unveiled its “Public Health Advisory Committee,” which is tasked with providing the former vice president guidance on the pandemic. The political leanings of some of individuals tapped for the committee were made evident by a plan Biden touted on Thursday, which included among its proposals for combatting the virus the rejoining of the Paris climate accord.