The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden seeks to counter Trump on coronavirus
Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.
LEADING THE DAY
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday blasted President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the White House’s dithering in the early stages of the outbreak will end up causing incalculable harm to public health and the U.S. economy.
Speaking from a makeshift studio at his home in Delaware, Biden accused the Trump administration of ignoring early warning signs about the pandemic and of downplaying the disease at critical points when the virus was primarily concentrated in China.
The former vice president laid out four points of action he wants to see the government take.
Biden said Trump must authorize the Defense Production Act to order companies to make critical health care supplies, such as face masks.
Biden also said the president must employ the armed forces and National Guard to expand hospital capacity; that Trump must “end the infighting and bickering” between political officials and health experts in his administration; and that he must “set the right priorities for the economic response” by directing cash to average workers, rather than big companies and their executives.
“Trump keeps saying he’s a wartime president, well start to act like one,” Biden said.
It was the first time Biden had been on camera in nearly a week. The last time Biden addressed the public was last Tuesday following his Democratic primary victories in Florida, Arizona and Illinois.
There has been growing concern among Democrats that Biden has ceded the spotlight to Trump, whose job approval numbers have been on the rise.
But Biden is in many ways between a rock and a hard place.
He’s been pulled off the campaign trail and homebound, like many Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is still in the race, though he has little chance of winning.
Trump’s White House briefings give the president an unmatched bully pulpit, while Democratic governors such as Andrew Cuomo in New York and Gavin Newsom in California are spearheading the government responses at the state level.
Some of Biden’s allies worry that he’ll look like he’s politicizing the issue if he’s just chirping at Trump from the sidelines.
Still, the Biden campaign is signaling that it wants him to play a larger role in the national conversation and knows that he can’t be perceived as hiding out, even if the presidential campaigns have ground to a halt.
The Biden campaign rushed to build a studio at his home in Delaware so that he can broadcast more speeches. Biden will also begin to make more frequent appearances on television. Look for him on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday.
— Jonathan Easley
Biden says Trump’s ‘failure of planning and preparation’ worsened coronavirus crisis, Jonathan Easley reports.
FROM THE TRAIL:
Sanders scored a victory in the Democratic Abroad primary on Monday. Julia Manchester reports that 58 percent of the vote cast went to Sanders, while Biden garnered 23 percent. Sanders was awarded nine of the 13 delegates at stake in the primary, and Biden received the other four. Sanders did not take part in a key procedural vote on a $1.6 trillion emergency rescue package, which ended up failing on Sunday.
Antjuan Seawright: Andrew Cuomo shows us the way of sacrifice and faith in each other
Jessica Tarlov: Politicking in the midst of a national crisis
Brad Bannon: Donald Trump calls himself as a ‘stable genius,’ but his response to coronavirus is anything but
FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:
Rhode Island became the latest state to delay its presidential primary, following Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Connecticut and Kentucky. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said in a tweet that she would sign an executive order to postpone the contest from April 28 to June 2 on the advice of the Board of Elections. The primary will also be conducted primarily through mail-in-votes, according to Raimondo.
Priorities USA, the largest Democratic super PAC, is launching a $6 million ad campaign across four battleground states targeting Trump over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Max reports. In one ad spot, Trump is heard dismissing the outbreak as a “hoax,” while a graph shows the number of confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. rising. The ad campaign is part of a larger effort by Priorities to spend $150 million opposing Trump ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July.
In a statement responding to the ad campaign, Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said that Democrats “offer nothing but partisan sniping from the sidelines and seek to undermine the federal response to the crisis by misinforming and frightening people.”
The super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reserved more than $67 million in fall television ads across six battleground states on Monday, Max reports. The ad reservations by Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) include $21.8 million in North Carolina, $12.6 million in Iowa, $10.8 million in Kentucky, $9.2 million in Arizona, $7.2 million in Maine and $5.5 million in Colorado – states that will determine control of the Senate in November. The $67.1 million investment is more than twice what SLF spent at the outset of the 2018 midterm elections.
50 percent say Trump has done a good job handling the coronavirus outbreak
45 percent say Trump has done a bad job handling the coronavirus outbreak
72 percent say their governor has done a good job handling the coronavirus outbreak
18 percent say their governor has done a bad job handling the coronavirus outbreak
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)
Alaska Democratic primary
Hawaii Democratic primary
Wyoming Democratic caucuses
Wisconsin Democratic primary
Puerto Rico Democratic primary
New York primaries
ONE HOPEFUL THING
As people around the globe are grappling with the coronavirus outbreak, many of those staying inside to stop its spread are working to spread joy through their balconies and windows.
What started during the quarantine in Italy has since become a global activity.
In India, folks in Mumbai appeared on their balconies to express gratitude for first responders and those on the frontlines in the pandemic.
#WATCH: People come out on their balconies to clap, clang utensils and ring bells to express their gratitude to those providing essential services amid #CoronavirusPandemic, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. pic.twitter.com/dIzBYF5ELq
— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2020
In Pakistan, Salman Ahmad caught people singing from their windows and balconies.
Pakistanis in Karachi, self quarantining & singing Jazba Junoon to inspire each other. March 23❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/nrYMeLyQ03
— salman ahmad (@sufisal) March 23, 2020
In Malaysia, people appeared on their balconies and windowsills to thank health care workers and essential service employees
Everyone in our condo our on their balconies making noise in solidarity of all the healthcare workers and essential services employees on the frontlines battling #COVID19 in Malaysia.
What a beautiful sight pic.twitter.com/nAAXhfUr4C
— Thorns N’ Roses (@noellejoanna) March 23, 2020
Meanwhile, in Seville, Spain, residents of one apartment complex worked out from their balconies!
In Seville, Spain, residents of an entire apartment complex couldn’t leave their homes due to the quarantine.
So a fitness instructor went up to a rooftop and held a workout class.
Neighbors joined in from their windows and balconies.pic.twitter.com/Ez0iF7vwf3
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) March 15, 2020
In Edinburgh, Scotland, residents of the neighborhood of Leith took to their balconies to beautifully belt out a rendition of “Sunshine on Leith”
Meanwhile in Leith people join an impromptu sing along on their balconies to the sounds of @The_Proclaimers Sunshine on Leith being played to them from the street. It’s such a lovely sight. #Leith #edinburgh pic.twitter.com/L6hY4gaHRQ
— Duncan Clarke PR (@duncancpr) March 20, 2020
Across the pond in Boston’s Back Bay, residents sang Bill Withers’s “Lean On Me”
Boston needs balconies. https://t.co/LBzjKd8X6k
— Not Jackie Jensen (@JJensenRF) March 22, 2020
We hope you get a chance to spread some joy today, too.
Stay safe and well!
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