Biden says he could force China to cooperate with US on coronavirus investigation
Former Vice President Joe Biden said during the South Carolina debate that he was the only Democratic presidential candidate with enough international experience to force China to cooperate with U.S. health officials on the coronavirus.
“I would be on the phone with China making it clear we are going to need to be in your country. You have to be open. You have to be clear. We have to know what’s going on. We have to be there with you,” Biden said.
“I can get that done. No one up here has ever dealt internationally with any of these world leaders. I’m the only one that has,” Biden added forcefully.
China was initially reluctant to allow U.S. health officials into the country. Trump administration officials said they had offered multiple times to send top experts into China as part of a joint mission with the World Health Organization to investigate the coronavirus.
Biden pointed to his time in the Obama White House working to stop the Ebola epidemic. The Obama administration appointed an Ebola czar to coordinate the response across government agencies.
President Trump disbanded its global health security team.
Other Democratic presidential candidates also attacked President Trump for his response to the virus and his attempts to cut public health funding.
“In the White House today, we have a self-described great genius,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “This great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months. April is the magical day that this great scientist in the White House has determined.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) hit Trump for his attempts to reduce funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“This president has not invested like he should have. He tried to cut back on the CDC. … He hasn’t yet addressed the nation on this topic. I would do that,” she said.
As the U.S. tries to prepare for what health officials said was the “inevitable” spread of the coronavirus, President Trump’s budgets have included significant cuts to both the CDC and the NIH.
However, Congress has not yet allowed any of those cuts to go through.