"Researchers have shown that tens of thousands of Americans have died needlessly because Donald Trump was slow to respond to the crisis and then when he did he bungled the response," Biden said.
JOE BIDEN: On Monday, Donald Trump said, “If we stopped testing right now for COVID-19, we’d have very few cases if any.” If we stopped testing, we’d have very few cases if any. It’s a statement that’s not only absurd, it’s absolutely tragic. Yesterday, the head of the White House task force on coronavirus, the vice president, claimed success in the fight because deaths are “down to fewer than 750 a day.” 750 fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, uncles, aunts, husbands, wives, children dying every day. More than 20,000 a month. That’s greater than World War II level casualties each month, that’s more than five 9/11s each month, and this administration is engaging in self-congratulations? Maybe good enough for Donald Trump, but it will never, ever be acceptable if I’m your president. Researchers have shown that tens of thousands of Americans have died needlessly because Donald Trump was slow to respond to the crisis and then when he did he bungled the response.
For weeks in January and February, I but I wasn’t alone, I was raising my concerns about how we need to take this virus seriously, all while Trump was ignoring the reporting from his own intelligence community in his daily briefings, and the warnings of his closest advisors, all the while praising the Chinese government for being transparent in handling this virus instead of demanding access for the CDC that Beijing was refusing to give in Wuhan. The American people have sacrificed so much to fight this virus. We’ve lost lives, we’ve lost businesses, we’ve lost paychecks, and now thanks to Donald Trump’s bungling, we may lose some of the progress we begun to make. All because he’s lost interest. He’s once again ignoring the facts. The public health response is still woefully, woefully lacking from this administration. More than 117,000 people have died in the United States of America, with an average daily number of cases still climbing in 21 states.
We still don’t have what we need when it comes to rapid results testing, contact tracing capacity, widely available personnel protective equipment for them, or clear nationwide guidance. Instead, President Trump pushes dangerous disproven drugs, stands in the way of the CDC issuing guidelines on reopening. They had them, wanted to issue them and he wouldn’t let them. He refuses to wear a mask, failing even the most basic test of leadership. He scaled back meetings of the COVID-19 task force. I guess there’s not much to do in spite of experts saying that testing and tracing is necessary for reopening, he sent his testing czar home. The money provided to the Pentagon for essential medical supplies, only 15%, only 15% has made it out the door.
Donald Trump wants to style himself as a wartime president against this invisible enemy, the coronavirus. Unlike any other war, any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility, he exercises no leadership, and now he’s just flat surrendering the fight. Instead of leading the charge to defeat the virus, he just basically waved a white flag and has retreated [inaudible 00:06:45] to get back on his campaign, to his campaign rallies that he’ll put people at risk as everyone’s pointed out, in violation of the CDC Guidelines that still warn against large gatherings as long as he’s going to allow this to happen, but he’s ready to do it as long as, notwithstanding CDC guidance, as long as the people showing up sign a waiver promising they’ll not hold the campaign liable.
Donald Trump’s failure to fight the coronavirus with the same energy and focus that he uses to troll his enemies on Twitter has cost us lives and is putting hope for an economic recovery at risk. Job numbers and retail sales were better than expected in May, and that’s great news for the country, but now Donald Trump’s desire to declare victory and be done with it is only going to imperil the continued progress we have to make. Our economy is still sputtering, with more than 20 million people unemployed and no clear guidance from the federal government for what businesses need to do to reopen safely, efficiently, and generate a strong recovery.
This isn’t a debate about whether to reopen. It’s about how we make reopening work for everyone. The employees at the White House, they get daily COVID-19 tests. They know they’re safe before they go to work and they know their co-workers are safe. They have the confidence to resume their lives. Workers across the country aren’t asking for daily testing. They’re just asking for regular, reliable access to tests. Don’t they deserve that?
So it’s not that Donald Trump doesn’t recognize the importance of testing, it’s that he’s not up to the task or doesn’t care and now he’s seemingly decided he doesn’t even want to try, but just like he couldn’t wish COVID-19 away in March, just like he couldn’t tweet it away in April, he can’t ignore it away in June. So I have some basic questions for President Donald Trump. What are you going to do to make sure every worker has access to regular testing so they have the same confidence to go into a store or go back to work that White House staffers have? Why are you leaving schools and child care centers to navigate the uncertainty all on their own without an effective guidance and resources that they need to protect the kids and their communities? Why don’t you enforce the OSHA standards for worker protection during this global pandemic? Why is it the Main Street Lending Program created more than two months ago by the Congress to help struggling small businesses only opened for registration to lenders two days ago, and still hasn’t distributed a single penny. Why don’t you disclose the names, Mr. President, of the businesses that received a total of $500 billion in taxpayer’s funding? Why are they being hidden?