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Joe Biden is taking aim again at President Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. But he has seemingly tempered his comments this week compared to the language he used just a few days ago.
“The American people are rising to meet this moment. We need our president to do the same,” the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The former vice president repeatedly called out Trump for what many critics charge is a continued downplaying of the severity of the pandemic.
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Compare that to how Biden – on a conference call with reporters on Friday — urged Trump to “stop saying false things,” saying, “People are worried. They are really frightened. And when these things don’t come true, you just exacerbate their concern. Stop saying false things [you] think make you sound like a hero.”
The former vice president also argued then that Trump had repeatedly lied to Americans, saying “for the first two months of this crisis, President Trump used his public statements to falsely tell us we had nothing to worry about….now he’s switched to falsely telling us that he’s taking action he has not taken, promising results he’s not delivered and announcing actions that he not even ordered. And people are scared.”
But on Monday, a seemingly milder tone emerged from Biden.
“Donald Trump is not to blame for the coronavirus. But he does bear responsibility for our response,” Biden said during the inaugural use of a new TV studio constructed in his home in Wilmington, Delaware. “This isn’t about politics. This is simply too much at stake.”
On Tuesday — after the president made controversial comments at a Fox News virtual town hall suggesting that social distancing efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak could be lifted in the coming weeks and that Americans could be back to work and back in places of worship as early as Easter – Biden was critical but appeared to turn down the volume, saying in a CNN interview that Trump “should stop talking and start to listen to the medical experts.”
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Asked about his jabs at the president, Biden said in an appearance on “The View” that “I’ve not been criticizing the president but I’ve been pointing out where there’s disagreement as to how to proceed.”
Biden emphasized that “the American people don’t want us in a political fight and I want no part of a political fight either. But when a president says things that in fact turn out not to be accurate, we should not say ‘you’re lying,’ we should say ‘Mr. President that’s not the facts, here’s the deal.’ For example when he said we had all the tests were available, well they weren’t available.”
A senior Biden campaign official told Fox News that “we’ve responded in real-time as the president continues to make what we think are the wrong decisions” and promised that “you’re going to continue to see him comment in real-time on social through statements, on video.”
In recent days, Trump’s reelection campaign has repeatedly accused Biden of trying to politicize the crisis.
“By preying upon Americans’ fear amid the coronavirus outbreak, Biden isn’t just playing cheap politics. He’s making the crisis worse. It’s dangerous,” the Trump campaign said. “Biden’s Monday morning quarterbacking is an effort to sow anger and division among Americans.”
A longtime Democratic strategist and communications consultant emphasized that the former vice president’s voice should preach unity.
Lynda Tran, a veteran of the Democratic National Committee and the Obama-era grassroots group Organizing for America, told Fox News that Biden’s “message has to be about the unity it will require to survive this moment: We are better than this. We can and will get through this together. That is the point of social-distancing and shelter-in-place policies. It’s literally the opposite of ‘I alone can solve this.’”