Campaign

Biden to tear into Trump over coronavirus, school reopenings in Delaware remarks

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will tear into President Trump in remarks from Delaware on Wednesday, going after the White House’s handling of the coronavirus and its impact on school reopenings.

Biden will be joined by his wife, Jill Biden, an educator herself, and several experts for a briefing on the issue of opening schools and will then give remarks “on how Trump’s failure to address COVID-19 is impacting students, educators, and children, and his plan to safely and effectively reopen schools,” according to his campaign. 

In a press call with reporters, Biden campaign aide Symone Sanders panned Trump’s response to the pandemic, saying his inability to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19 has put educators in the difficult position of deciding if and when they should reopen their schools.

“For our families, educators and students across the country, it is back to school. But across America, too many classrooms are empty because President Trump’s continued and willful failure to offer a meaningful plan to address COVID-19,” she said. “He isn’t listening to experts or scientists, he’s barreling forward trying to reopen schools because he thinks it will help his own reelection. It’s very clear, glaringly clear that Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan.” 

“We believe this is a key contrast for voters. President Trump, who continues to ignore the science and has no plan to get the virus under control, and Joe Biden, who is working with the experts and putting together an impressive plan to beat the virus and reopen schools safely,” she added. 

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), who also appeared on the press call, noted that the debate over school reopenings comes as the country grapples with the health and economic fallout of the coronavirus as well as a national reckoning over systemic racism.

“We get about 100 calls a day in my office from people wanting help with unemployment, small-business loans, health insurance, food stamps, mortgage and rental relief, all of these issues that have come about in our economy because of the pandemic. And this pandemic is still not under control. So in the midst of it, we’ve got economic devastation, unwarranted police violence and emboldened white nationalists. So there’s no wonder people aren’t feeling safer and they’re worried,” she said.

Biden has for months railed against Trump’s response to the coronavirus, saying the White House is not listening to health experts and lacks a cohesive national plan to blunt the disease’s spread.

The former vice president has also leaned into school reopenings, an issue on which Democrats hope to go on offense, leveraging his ties to teachers unions and his wife’s own career as an educator.

Biden as well as down-ballot Democrats have urged a cautious wait-and-see approach to school reopenings that emphasizes local decisionmaking amid a surging number of cases in many states.

The White House, meanwhile, has adopted an aggressive approach, with Trump at one point threatening to withhold federal funds from schools that do not open their doors. 

The remarks Wednesday from Biden’s Delaware home come as Trump and the GOP have worked to cast the election as a referendum on the two candidates’ plans to tackle national protests over racism and police brutality.

Biden has worked to underscore the demands of protesters while denouncing outbreaks of violence; the president has said the country could be headed for a spike in rioting and looting should he be unseated.

But Biden’s campaign said it was confident that voters are still concerned over the coronavirus and that the pandemic is an issue that will remain top of mind heading into Election Day.

“I would argue that the spotlight never left COVID,” said Sanders. “Just because President Trump and the Trump campaign want to speak about everything else other than the coronavirus, or COVID-19, does not mean that this is not top of mind for folks across this country.”

Tags coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Dina Titus Donald Trump Joe Biden school reopening Symone Sanders

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