Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled out a new way to try to reach voters amid the coronavirus crisis, hosting a podcast from the Wilmington, Delaware home where he is practicing social isolation like many Americans.
‘It’s a scary time. A lot of people out there confused things are changing every day, every hour. So I wanted to have this conversation with you now if we could,’ Biden said, at the top of what he said would be a weekly podcast.
His first interview subject was Ron Klain, who headed an Ebola virus task force during the Obama administration. Biden says Klain, an outside campaign advisor now, was his ‘first choice’ for the position back then.
Former Vice President Joe Biden hosted a podcast from his home in Wilmington
The pair traded friendly questions, and Klain tore into Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘The coronavirus isn’t Donald Trump’s fault, but how we responded to it is, and there’s no issue that illustrates that more than this testing fiasco,’ Klain told him in the podcast, called ‘Here’s the Deal,’ a reference to a favorite Biden catch phrase.
‘Donald Trump didn’t take the steps needed to get the testing in place. As a result compared to almost every other developed nation. We’re behind on getting people tested,’ Klain said.
Biden interiewed Ron Klain, who ran the Ebola virus response in 2014
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Vice President Joseph Biden (R) and Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain (L), participate in a meeting regarding Ebola at the Eisenhower Executive office building November 13, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Biden responded: ‘I’m determined that this should not be political. This is not about partisan politics. It’s about how rapidly we can put in motion the initiatives that are going to save people’s lives and get us through this process.’
Klain used the platform to compliment Biden and Obama. Listeners could click on convenient tabs to donate to Biden’s campaign.
‘What you and the president told me on day one was to put science first,’ Klain told him.
‘You were there, you remember it very well,’ Klain told Biden.
‘I think by contrast, what we’ve seen here with the Trump response to coronavirus is a failure of both things. The president notoriously is rejecting the advice of scientists and doctors. He’s not listening to people who are telling them he didn’t in January and February when these experts were telling him we have a big problem. He was going out and downplaying the problem,’ Klain continued.
‘He just wasn’t listening to these great experts we have in the government,’ Klain said of Trump – who on Sunday backed off a stated hope of reopening big parts of the country by Easter. Instead, Trump said he would continue stay-home guidelines through the end of April to try to slow the spread of the virus.
‘And I know it’s also very, very different from the way you’ve been thinking Mr. vice president about the response to coronavirus,’ Klain told him.
‘You don’t have to be a doctor and you don’t have to be clairvoyant to know where they’re going to need these hospitals,’ said Biden, who called for Trump to use the military weeks ago to stand up temporary hospitals.
Trump’s approval hit 49 per cent in the latest Gallup poll last week, with disapproval at 45 per cent. Biden stopped holding campaign rallies just as he amassed a big delegate lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders and became a strong favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Some states have postponed their primaries since then.
Trump has called himself a ‘wartime president’ and is commanding the spotlight. He flew to Norfolk Saturday to see off the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship that arrived Monday in New York Harbor.
Biden called for increasing the size of Social Security checks and forgiving a minimum of $10,000 for student loans during the outbreak.