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Biden spoke with Trump about coronavirus response

 

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE on Monday about the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

Speaking to reporters at a daily press briefing on Tuesday evening, Trump described the conversation as “warm” and “friendly.”

“We had a really wonderful, warm conversation. It was a very nice conversation. We talked about pretty much this,” Trump said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that,” he continued, noting that the discussion lasted “probably 15 minutes. “And we just had a very friendly conversation.”

Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, said in a statement that the former vice president offered Trump several suggestions for tackling the pandemic during the phone call. 

"Vice President BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE and President Trump had a good call," the statement noted. "VP Biden shared several suggestions for actions the Administration can take now to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and expressed his appreciation for the spirit of the American people in meeting the challenges facing the nation." 

Trump said that he and Biden had agreed not to speak publicly about the details of the discussion. He declined to expound on what suggestions Biden made, but suggested that the two were not in complete agreement on the matter.
 
"He had suggestions," Trump said. "It doesn’t mean that I agree with those suggestions. But he had suggestions."

The call began taking shape last week after Biden offered to speak to the president about the U.S. strategy for combating the coronavirus outbreak. Trump said he was willing to take such a call from Biden, and the former vice president’s aides began working to set up a conversation between the two political rivals.

Biden has been sharply critical of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying that the president was too slow to take action.

Speaking to reporters during a virtual briefing on Thursday, Biden said that he hoped Trump could “learn some lessons” from the Obama administration as the president seeks to combat the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

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“We’ve been through this in a slightly different way in the past, and I hope they can learn some lessons from what we did right and maybe what we did wrong,” Biden said, noting that his team had been working to arrange the conversation with Trump.

-- Brett Samuels contributed reporting

Updated at 6:26 p.m.