- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden charged President Trump with ignoring the COVID-19 pandemic in order to get back to his large campaign rallies.

“Donald Trump’s failure to fight the coronavirus with the same energy he uses to troll his enemies on Twitter has cost us lives,” Mr. Biden said in a speech Wednesday, taking shots at the president’s “bungled” COVID-19 handling.

The former vice president said cases are still rising in 21 states, and experts have said contact tracings are needed to prevent the spread. But Mr. Trump has decided to scale back the coronavirus task force meetings. The decision came after more than 30,000 ventilators remain in the national stock pile.

Additionally, the daily case average is dropping across the U.S., from 30,000 in April to 20,000 in June.

Deaths also are down to less than 750 a day from roughly 2,500 a day several weeks ago.

Mr. Biden pushed back against the notion that Mr. Trump is a “wartime” president, fighting an invisible enemy.

“Unlike any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility. He expresses no leadership. Now he is just flat surrendering the fight,” Mr. Biden said. “Instead of leading the charge to defeat the virus, he just basically waved a white flag and retreated.”

Mr. Trump is planning to return to the campaign trail, planning a large rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later this month. Those attending the rally will reportedly have to sign a release not to sue the campaign if they contract COVID-19.

The president’s campaign, though, is pushing back, saying Mr. Biden is finally coming out from his basement after nearly 80 days.

“President Trump and the nation’s governors have partnered up in the greatest public and private sector mobilization effort since WWII, while Biden has done nothing but sit on the sidelines fear mongering and rooting against America’s success,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign.

“Compared to Biden’s dismal history of overseeing the slowest economic recovery since WWII, President Trump built the American economy to unprecedented levels before it was artificially interrupted and he will do it again. The 2.5 million jobs created in May — the greatest single jobs month in American history — is proof that the Great American Comeback is already underway. Biden would crush that momentum with his promises to raise taxes and impose Green New Deal regulations on business, wiping out millions of jobs and the entire energy sector,” he added.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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