Chicago Sun-Times

AT TOWN HALL, BI­DEN BASHES TRUMP’S ‘AL­MOST CRIM­I­NAL’ CORONAVIRU­S RE­SPONSE

- BY ALEXAN­DRA JAFFE AND WILL WEIS­SERT U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Moosic, Pennsylvania · Pennsylvania · Joe Biden · Donald Trump · Scranton · United States of America · Anderson Cooper · Philadelphia · Democratic Party (United States) · Russia · Beijing · PNC Financial Services

MOOSIC, Pa. — Joe Bi­den on Thurs­day went af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump again and again over his han­dling of COVID-19, call­ing Trump’s down­play­ing of the pan­demic “crim­i­nal” and his ad­min­is­tra­tion “to­tally ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

“You’ve got to level with the Amer­i­can peo­ple — shoot from the shoul­der. There’s not been a time they’ve not been able to step up. The pres­i­dent should step down,” the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee said to ap­plause from a CNN drive-in town hall crowd in Moosic, out­side his home­town of Scran­ton.

Speak­ing about Trump’s ad­mis­sion that he publicly played down the im­pact of the virus while aware of its sever­ity, Bi­den de­clared: “He knew it and did noth­ing. It’s close to crim­i­nal.”

Later, Bi­den de­cried Amer­i­cans’ loss of ba­sic “free­doms” as the U.S. has strug­gled to con­tain the pan­demic, like the abil­ity to go to a ball­game or walk around their neigh­bor­hoods. “I never, ever thought I would see just such a thor­oughly, to­tally ir­re­spon­si­ble ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said.

Bi­den faced a half-dozen ques­tions about the coronaviru­s and a po­ten­tial vac­cine in the town hall from mod­er­a­tor An­der­son Cooper and au­di­ence mem­bers. The pan­demic was not just the main topic of the night — it was the cause of the un­usual for­mat of the event: a drive-in with 35 cars out­side PNC Field.

The town hall marked the first time that Bi­den had faced live, un­scripted ques­tions from vot­ers since win­ning the nom­i­na­tion. Trump par­tic­i­pated in a town hall Tues­day in an au­di­to­rium in Philadel­phia.

Bi­den was pressed on his stance on the Green New Deal, the sweep­ing pro­posal from pro­gres­sives in Congress that calls for achiev­ing net-zero green­house gas emis­sions across the econ­omy by 2030. Bi­den’s pro­posal doesn’t go as far, but it does aim to re­duce emis­sions to zero by 2050 and has a goal of achiev­ing an en­tirely car­bon pol­lu­tion-free power sec­tor by 2035.

Bi­den in­ter­rupted a ques­tioner who sug­gested his cli­mate plan em­braces the Green New Deal to in­sist, “No, it doesn’t,” but when asked by the mod­er­a­tor if he sup­ports the pro­posal, he said, “I don’t think it’s too much.”

Still, Bi­den added, “I have my own deal,” which he noted the Demo­cratic Party has in­cor­po­rated as part of its plat­form.

Bi­den also promised to re­duce Amer­ica’s mil­i­tary foot­print and said that if he’s elected and it be­comes clear post-election that Rus­sia in­ter­fered in the election, “they’ll pay a price for it, and it’ll be an eco­nomic price.”

Bi­den de­scribed Rus­sia as an “op­po­nent,” but he called China a “com­peti­tor” and pledged to im­prove trade pol­icy with it.

 ?? CAROLYN KASTER/AP ?? Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den par­tic­i­pates in a CNN drive-in town hall Thurs­day mod­er­ated by An­der­son Cooper in Moosic, Penn­syl­va­nia.
CAROLYN KASTER/AP Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den par­tic­i­pates in a CNN drive-in town hall Thurs­day mod­er­ated by An­der­son Cooper in Moosic, Penn­syl­va­nia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA