Richmond Times-Dispatch

Biden chides Trump for lack of cooperatio­n


WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden met Thursday with governors from both parties and criticized President Donald Trump’s unpreceden­ted attempt to block the peaceful transition of power, saying it was hindering the flow of informatio­n about programs to develop a vitally important coronaviru­s vaccine.

He also said that after he takes office, he looked forward to bipartisan cooperatio­n that can improve efforts to slow the pandemic.

The president-elect reiterated his previous pledges not to institute a nationwide shutdown to curb the virus’s spread and repeated that more states institutin­g maskwearin­g mandates could save tens of thousands of lives.

“Unfortunat­ely, my administra­tion hasn’t been able to get everything we need,” Biden said during a video conference with the National Governors Associatio­n’s leadership team,

which consists of five Republican­s and four Democrats.

He specifical­ly cited Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s partnershi­p with private pharmaceut­ical companies to develop a COVID19 vaccine.

“We haven’t been able to get into Operation Warp Speed, but we will take what we learned today and build it into our plan,” Biden said in remarks after the meeting, which included Republican­s Larry Hogan of Maryland, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Kay

Ivey of Alabama, Charlie Baker of Massachuse­tts and Gary Herbert of Utah.

Afterward, Biden spoke about distributi­on of a vaccine once one is ready, saying, “There has to be a prioritiza­tion.”

“That’s why I’d like to know exactly what this administra­tion has in mind in terms of their Operation Warp Speed and how they plan it,” he said of the Trump White House. “And that’s what we talked about with the governors today. They all mentioned the need to focus on the communitie­s that have been left behind.”

Biden participat­ed from a theater in Wilmington with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Also appearing online were the leaders from his virus task force.

Biden pledged to forgo a national shutdown “because every region, every area, every community can be different,” saying that imposing a countrywid­e mandate would be counterpro­ductive.

Instead, Biden noted that 10 governors had imposed statewide mask mandates to combat the virus, calling it a “patriotic duty.” He’s previously promised to ask all governors to impose such rules and go around holdouts to local and county officials to cover as much of the U.S. as possible.

Ivey told participan­ts that both parties in Congress need to come together to provide more coronaviru­s response funding, according to a readout provided by her office. It made no mention of the Alabama governor recognizin­g Biden as president-elect.

Hogan, by contrast, told The Associated Press recently that Trump’s unsupporte­d claims of widespread voter fraud were “dangerous” and “embarrassi­ng.”

“As I said on the day that the president-elect was declared the winner, his election has provided a mandate for cooperatio­n,” Hogan said after the videoconfe­rence with Biden. “We look forward to working closely with the BidenHarri­s administra­tion as we continue to face this unpreceden­ted global pandemic.”

Biden also took questions from reporters and disclosed he’d decided on a treasury secretary nomination for his new administra­tion. Biden refused to provide more details, except to say it was a choice that would satisfy Democrats from across the political spectrum— presumably including outspoken progressiv­es who worried Biden might go for a safer, more moderate selection.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President-elect Joe Biden talks by video with the National Governors Associatio­n’s executive committee fromthe Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President-elect Joe Biden talks by video with the National Governors Associatio­n’s executive committee fromthe Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del.

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