Joe Biden isn’t going as far as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in slamming President Trump’s steering of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — but he’s certainly criticizing the Republican incumbent.
“His denial at the beginning was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment … to where it is needed is deadly,” Pelosi charged over the weekend as she criticized the president’s early actions in combating the outbreak of the virus.
Asked during a CNN interview on Tuesday if he agreed with Pelosi’s allegations that Trump’s initial actions cost American lives, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee said: “President Trump is not responsible for the coronavirus but he [is] responsible for using all the power at his disposal to be able to deal with this virus.”
The former vice president emphasized that Trump has “been very slow to act.”
Biden also stressed that “many of the things he [the president] says are simply not accurate.”
“Yesterday he was talking to a bunch of governors on the telephone and he said the first time he heard about needing more tests was on that telephone. Well, come on. I don’t know where he’s been. He’s standing at the podium every single day, speaking to all those experts. We badly need more tests,” Biden said as he referred to audio obtained by The New York Times in which the president — during a conference call with governors — said that he had not “heard about testing in weeks.”
Biden added that “the things he says don’t seem to comport with what everybody else knows. And I wish he’d listen more to the scientists and think less about the political consequences.”
“We wanted to have more resources in this third bill that was just signed by the president to get those resources to the states, to facilitate the reality of life: that we are going to have more vote by mail,” Pelosi said Tuesday in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The speaker added that she hopes “that we would also have some funding, which was rejected, for the Postal Service, which (will) implement the vote by mail.”
“The integrity of the election system is central to our democracy. How anyone could oppose our enabling the states to have vote by mail raises so many other questions, but let’s just be hopeful and have public opinion weigh in on that,” Pelosi stressed.
Many lawmakers, as well as election advocates, are warning that if states don’t receive federal assistance to move away from in-person voting, there could be low turnout and disruptions in November’s general election.
The coronavirus outbreak has already upended the presidential nominating calendar, with many states postponing their remaining contests.
Mail-in voting was already the default option for three states that are scheduled to hold contests on April 4: Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming. Now all three states are moving to nearly 100 percent vote-by-mail and are extending the deadlines for ballots to be delivered.
Among the states that have postponed their primaries until June, Georgia and Ohio are spending millions to send absentee ballots to voters.
Currently three states – Colorado, Oregon and Washington – vote only by mail. More than a dozen other states allow mail-in-voting as an option.
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