Joe Biden on Friday laid into President Donald Trump’s pandemic response, saying that “all pain and suffering” — particularly due to high COVID-19 infection rates and the struggling economy — “stems from” his “inability to lead.”
Biden, speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, said Trump’s response to the outbreak had been a “failure” simply because “he doesn’t care.”
“Because it doesn’t affect him or affect his class of friends,” he said. “He thinks if the stock market is up, then everything’s fine.”
Biden praised a jobs report published earlier in the day that showed the economy added around 1.4 million jobs last month, reflecting a slow return to labor market growth — but he said it was not evidence of an economic recovery.
“You can’t have a full economic comeback when 1,000 American people die per day,” he said. “When the death toll is about to reach 200,000, when more than 6 million Americans have been infected, and when millions more are worried about getting sick and dying as schools and businesses try to reopen.”
As of Friday, nearly 190,000 people in the U.S. had died of COVID-19, and there have been more than 6.1 million confirmed infections. More than 22 million U.S. jobs have been lost since March.
Layoff announcements have ramped up in recent days, with airlines warning of tens of thousands of layoffs as government aid expires and Paycheck Protection Program funds dwindle for many business owners. United Airlines said on Wednesday it expected to separate more than 16,000 workers. Ford is slashing 1,400 white-collar workers and pushing for early retirement, and e-cigarette maker Juul is axing half of its 2,200-strong workforce amid a retreat from some markets.
“There is real cause for concern,” Biden said.
He cited the fact that the pace of job gains had slowed from July to August and noted that “more and more temporary layoffs are turning into permanent layoffs.”
“After six months in the pandemic, we are less than halfway back to where we were,” he said. That is an accurate statement.
Biden said the economic calamity was continuing, “because the president has botched the COVID response.
And, in a possible attempt to hit back against misleading attacks from Republicans that he wants to “defund the police,” Biden said Trump’s pandemic response was actually more dangerous to police officers than being on patrol.
“We have lost more cops this year to COVID than when they’re on patrol,” he said. “It’s a reminder how a dangerous job — law enforcement — has gotten more dangerous due to Trump’s mismanagement.”