MOOSIC, PA. – In a town hall on Thursday, Joe Biden repeatedly followed up on President Donald Trump by dealing with COVID-19 and calling Trump downplaying the pandemic as "criminal" and his administration as "completely irresponsible".
"You have to compete with the American people – shoot off the shoulder. There has never been a time when they have not been able to step up. The president should step down," the Democratic presidential candidate said to get off the car cashier in Moosic outside his hometown of Scranton to applaud.
When Biden spoke of Trump's admission that he had publicly downplayed the effects of the virus while being aware of its severity, he stated, “He knew and did nothing. It's almost criminal. "
Biden later condemned Americans' loss of fundamental freedoms during the pandemic, such as the ability to go to a ball game or run around their neighborhood. "I never thought that I would see such a thorough, completely irresponsible administration," he said.
Biden faced half a dozen questions from presenter Anderson Cooper and viewers about the coronavirus and a possible vaccine at the start of the town hall. The pandemic wasn't just the main topic of the night – it was what caused the event's unusual format: an entrance of 35 cars parked outside PNC Field.
The cars lined up around the stage, each with small groups of people standing in front of them or leaning on the hoods or sitting to watch Cooper and Biden on the stage in front of them. The network set up blue and red spotlights over the dirt and gravel parking lot to improve visibility. Each parking lot was marked in large rectangles with white chalk to ensure that each group of spectators stayed more than six feet. a part.
City Hall marked the first time Biden had faced living, unscripted questions from voters since winning the nomination. Trump attended an ABC town hall in an auditorium in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The appearances were seen as improvements prior to the three presidential debates; The first is September 29th and the stakes for the matchup will be high. Biden's uneven performance in debate during the Democratic primary contributed to his early polls and early primary struggles, and Trump has advanced unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Biden's use of performance-enhancing drugs and raised questions about Biden's mental acuity.
Meanwhile, Biden has promised to be a "fact-checker on the stage" with Trump but has said he does not want to get involved in a "brawl" with the Republican.
On Thursday evening, Biden said he was actually starting to prepare for the upcoming debate by reviewing Trump's remarks and preparing his own.
The format of Biden's event was a stark reminder of the theme that was at the center of Biden's campaign – that the pandemic continues to rage, affecting the lives of Americans in large and small ways, and that stronger leadership in the White House could have alleviated the crisis . More than 195,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, by far the highest death toll in the world.
Trump and Biden spent the week accusing each other of undermining public confidence in a potential coronavirus vaccine.
As Trump prepared for an evening rally in Wisconsin, Biden grabbed the president and openly contradicted the country's leading health officials to claim that a vaccine would be ready as early as next month, shortly before the November 3rd election.
"Tag my words – when I am president I will always measure myself against the American people and always tell the truth," Biden said in a statement.
A former Republican official in the Trump White House – Olivia Troye, former homeland security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence – approved Biden Thursday, citing Trump's mistreatment of the pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Biden took part in a conference call with the Senate Democrats and told Allies that he takes nothing for granted in the White House race and referendum efforts to deprive Republicans of Senate majority control.
The 30-minute event was a homecoming of sorts for the former Delaware Senator. On the private call, Biden asked questions, particularly from senators facing re-election, about his strategy to win back the chamber and defeat Trump.
"He just said," You know what to expect. You know why this is so important, ”said Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he had encouraged Biden to remind workers how much he had been on their side during his long reign.
"I said," Joe, people need to know that you see the dignity of work, the people built this country, "Manchin told reporters." You need to know that you fought for their pensions, you fought for Fought their health care … and you won't leave them behind. "
Biden's campaign team has been under scrutiny in the past few days for its public relations work, particularly the fact that some are making short work of the Latino voters. At the same time, Democrats have mixed views on the party's voting efforts, largely bypassing traditional knocking on the door to avoid health risks during the pandemic, and relying on virtual publicity instead.