Trump touts ‘friendly’ conversation with Biden

President Trump said Monday that he had a “friendly” and “warm” conversation with former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner, regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“We had a really wonderful, warm conversation,” Trump told reporters at a regular White House briefing Monday evening on COVID-19. “This is what we talked about.”

“He gave me his point of view, and I fully understood that. We just had a very friendly conversation,” Trump said, adding that the call lasted roughly 15 minutes.

“It was really good, really nice,” Trump continued. “I appreciate his calling.”

The Hill reported earlier Monday that Trump and Biden spoke by phone about the nation’s response to the coronavirus, but Trump’s remarks at the briefing represented his first public statement about the conversation.

The conversation as described by Trump marked a rare moment of amicable dialogue between two political foes. Biden is widely expected to be the Democratic presidential nominee facing Trump in the 2020 election.

Biden, who has been fiercely critical of Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks, offered to speak with Trump last week about the country’s strategy, and Trump told reporters that he would take the call.

Asked later about the phone call, Trump wouldn’t go into detail but said Biden offered him some recommendations on how to handle the public health crisis.

“We agreed that we weren’t going to talk about what we said,” Trump said. “He had suggestions. It doesn’t mean that I agree with those suggestions.”  

Trump said later that his call with Biden hadn’t persuaded him to contact his predecessors including Barack Obama and George W. Bush to receive advice on how to combat the virus.

“We’re doing a great job,” Trump told reporters. “We inherited a broken system.”

Earlier Monday, Trump also skewered Biden in a tweet after the former vice president floated the idea of a virtual Democratic National Convention in the summer and asked why he hadn’t called him.

“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a ‘Virtual” Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why? Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Trump’s campaign has also lambasted Biden for his proposals to confront the pandemic and his criticism of Trump’s actions. 

— Updated at 6:56 p.m.

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden

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