KEY POINTS

  • Biden said Trump failed to act quickly despite warnings in Janurary
  • The presidential hopeful urged Trump to drop his attacks on the ACA
  • Biden's Monday address was his first on-camera appearance since Tuesday

In a public address made Monday, presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump on his “mindset that was slow to recognize” the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Donald Trump is not to blame for the coronavirus, but he does bear responsibility for our response,” said Biden. While he praised the president for activating the National Guard, Biden argued that not only was it overdue, but that the military needed to become involved in relief efforts.

“Trump keeps saying he’s a wartime president. Well, then, he should act like one,” said Biden.

The former vice president accused Trump of failing to act on warning signs about the coronavirus pandemic as they emerged, pointing out that even with his limited access to high-level reports, he was aware in late January that a crisis was looming.

“I hope we hear less talk and see more evidence of fast action,” said Biden. “The mindset that was slow to recognize the problem and treat it with the seriousness it deserves is still too much a part of how the president is addressing the problem.”

Biden slammed Trump for using his daily coronavirus press briefings for “political attacks” and to “lash out at the press.”

Biden also addressed a coronavirus bill currently stalled in Congress. He and other Democrats have criticized the bill as providing a “slush fund” to major corporations worth billions in taxpayer dollars with few strings attached. Republicans have said this opposition is merely political in nature.

The presidential hopeful also called on Trump to put an end to his legal attacks on the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the expanded healthcare coverage it offers is needed more now than ever.

Biden also joined in with other Democrats to urge the president to enact the Defense Production Act, a law that allows the president to direct the production of certain goods – in this case, medical supplies – during a time of crisis. While Trump has considered taking such a step, he has yet to do so.

Until his Monday address, Biden had not appeared on camera since last Tuesday. This prompted some to ask why he had left the public eye and lead to #WhereIsJoe to trend on Twitter over the weekend.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses the media and a small group of supporters during a primary night event on March 10, 2020 in Philadelphia Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses the media and a small group of supporters during a primary night event on March 10, 2020 in Philadelphia Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Mark Makela