Standing in a television studio of sorts, quickly constructed in the recreation room of his Wilmington, Del., home, Biden spoke on the pandemic for 15 minutes. He has said he wants to do something like this almost daily, his comments will be streamed online. On Tuesday, he is using the new studio to make an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
It’s a recognition that, while they lack the power of the presidency and the megaphone that comes from the White House briefing room, the campaign needs to try something to stand out.
Biden used his address on Monday to escalate his criticism of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. “Trump keeps saying that he’s a wartime president,” Biden said. “Well, start to act like one.”
“Donald Trump is not to blame for the coronavirus, but he does bear responsibility for our response,” he added. “I, along with every American, hope he steps up and starts to get this right.”
Biden said that Trump should have done more when the threat was emerging in China, and when intelligence officials were warning of the potential danger the virus could pose.
“My point is not simply that the president was wrong,” he said. “My point is that the mindset that was slow to recognize the problem in the first place to treat with the seriousness it deserves is still too much a part of how the president is addressing the problem.”
Biden pointed to South Korea, saying that they have done a far better job at testing early and often to prevent the spread of the virus. He criticized Trump for not exercising his powers to increase the manufacturing of medical supplies.
“To paraphrase a frustrated President Lincoln writing to an inactive General McClellan during the Civil War, ‘If you don’t want to use the army, may I borrow it?’” Biden said. “You know, we need to get in motion. Get in motion today. What we should have set in motion weeks ago.”
Biden also praised the country’s governors, saying they were showing leadership in the crisis. He singled out several Republican governors, including Larry Hogan of Maryland, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, though he referred to Baker as “Charlie Parker.”
“The president needs to .. .end the infighting and [the] bickering with his own administration. Listen to the scientists who provide clear guidance,” Biden said. “The American people are not getting clear leadership, clear action, clear accountability.”
Biden has spent the last week at home making calls to lawmakers and meeting with advisers, but has kept a relatively low public profile. Some have criticized his absence over the past week amid a national crisis. His campaign announced 10 days ago that Biden himself has not taken the test for the coronavirus because he has no symptoms and hasn’t come into contact with anyone who has tested positive. That still stands as of Sunday, according to a spokesman.