A phone call between 2020 rivals Joe Biden and President Trump on the coronavirus crisis is in the works and will not be a political trap, the former vice president said Thursday.
“Yesterday, the Trump administration suggested that I should call the president and offer to help. Well, I’m happy to hear he’ll take my call,” Biden said in a press briefing on Thursday. “My team’s working with him to set such a call up, and I’ve been offering my advice and proposing policies for what I thought should be done for the last several weeks.”
Biden’s campaign said Wednesday that he would be happy to talk to Trump about the coronavirus response after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway criticized Biden for lobbing blows from his Wilmington, Delaware, home.
“I would absolutely take his call,” Trump said in a press briefing on Wednesday. “I would love to speak with him. Sure.”
The former vice president, 77, said that if Trump takes his call, he will encourage the president to support another economic relief package.
When asked how confident he is that the president will talk to Biden on the phone and take his advice seriously, Biden said that he is “just taking Kellyanne Conway at her word.”
Biden described his past conversations with Trump. “They’ve been respectful. They’ve been straightforward,” he said. “And I’m not doing this to criticize. I’m going to say, ‘This is what I think you should do.’”
The 36-year former senator of Delaware added that he thinks Trump, 73, should dramatically expand his use of the Defense Production Act in order to increase the manufacturing of medical protective equipment.
“I understand if he doesn’t want to take my advice,” Biden said. “But it won’t be, ‘I told you so, Mr. President.’ It won’t be, if he decided to do what I suggested, I go back and say, ‘Well, I told the president [to] do that.’ This is beyond politics right now.”
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