Biden to attack Trump's handling of COVID-19 as U.S. cases rise

by Reuters
Tuesday, 30 June 2020 17:03 GMT

(Adds details of Biden COVID-19 plan, changes dateline to WILMINGTON, previous WASHINGTON)

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Simon Lewis

WILMINGTON, Del., June 30 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday will launch a fresh attack on President Donald Trump's "historic mismanagement" of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of confirmed cases in many states rises.

Speaking at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the former vice president will argue that earlier action by Trump would have reduced the number who fell ill and the economic impact of the virus, said an aide who previewed his speech and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Biden will accuse Trump of "outright ignoring the crisis" as cases rise again, the aide said.

"Biden will walk through the timeline of Trump's inaction and failures, and highlight the common-sense actions that Trump refused to take to get the virus under control," the aide said.

Biden's campaign announced that, if elected, he would ask the federal government's top disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to serve another term, as part of an updated plan to tackle the pandemic.

Trump and his allies say the toll of the virus - which has killed more than 126,000 Americans, according to a Reuters tally - could have been larger without travel bans he put in place for visitors from China, and later from Europe.

They have argued the increasing confirmed cases in recent weeks are largely attributable to more testing, although the rate of positive tests has also been rising.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Courtney Parella said Biden was "fearmongering and rooting against America's success" while Trump led a public and private-sector mobilization that had slowed the spread of the virus.

The Republican president is trailing Biden in polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election amid the pandemic's health and economic crises, and nationwide protests against police brutality.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington and Simon Lewis in Washington; editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

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