Biden attacks on Trump coronavirus response to range from 'coverup' to 'chaos'

Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE’s presidential campaign is laying out its messaging campaign against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE over the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced itself to the center stage of the 2020 race.

In a memo sent Tuesday to surrogates and Democratic strategists that was obtained by The Hill, the Biden campaign encourages allies to focus their responses around “the four C’s” – support for the “Chinese government’s obvious spin,” “Coverup,” “Chaos” and “Corporate favoritism.”

“Donald Trump hasn’t taken responsibility for fighting coronavirus, or for the mistakes he has made in failing to do so. He ignored the warnings from health experts, from his own advisers, and from Joe Biden. He squandered precious time during which he should have been preparing. The result: America is seeing the worst death toll from the coronavirus of any country, and precipitous loss of jobs,” wrote Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

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The memo cited Trump’s early praise for China’s response to the pandemic despite concerns Beijing was downplaying the virus’s spread, saying the president “turned a blind eye to an emerging global danger” because he “was focused on appeasing China’s leaders as he was trying to clean up the mess in trade relations.”

The memo also underscores early dismissals from Trump about the severity of the coronavirus, noting comments in which he said he was not fearful that the virus would turn into a pandemic. 

The Biden campaign went on to slam a subsequent “chaotic, disorganized, under-powered response,” noting the disbanding of the National Security Council’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense and accusing the White House of “corporate favoritism” by not enacting the Defense Production Act (DPA), which allows the White House to force industries to produce needed equipment.

“Due to Trump’s mismanagement, our economy is in a tailspin, the impact is crushing the American middle class and working families daily, and Trump refuses to stand up to big corporations and help us climb out of this hole as fast as possible,” Bedingfield wrote. 

Bedingfield noted in the memo, which was first reported by Axios, that “many” of its recipients had sought guidance from the Biden campaign as to how to talk about the coronavirus and Trump’s response.

The former vice president’s campaign appears to view the White House’s handling of the coronavirus as a useful contrast between Biden and Trump as the pandemic has infected over 825,000 people in America, killed over 45,000 domestically and sent millions of people into unemployment. 

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Biden has laid out a litany of plans to combat the coronavirus, including widespread use of the DPA, boosting testing and providing more funding for state and local governments in federal relief packages.

“The bottom line: if Donald Trump had listened to Joe Biden, fewer Americans would be dying, losing loved ones, losing their jobs, or losing their retirement savings,” wrote Bedingfield. “Crucially, Trump has continued to abjectly fail us — to this day.”

The White House had earlier predicted Biden would take a “soft” approach toward China over past dismissals of Beijing’s economic threat to the U.S. and his son’s business dealings there.

The Trump campaign dismissed the memo, accusing Biden of working to win “political points” during the coronavirus.

“Americans want to see their president out front and in command in a crisis and that’s exactly what President Trump is doing. While the President is leading the nation in a war against the coronavirus, Joe Biden has decided to play the opposition in that war. He would rather score political points against President Trump than anything else. It used to be that we would unite as a country in times of crisis, but Biden has thrown that principle out the window,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director.

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