- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2020

Joseph R. Biden said Friday that President Trump has “quit” the fight against COVID-19 and vowed to hit the ground running after the election to chart a new course.

“The president still doesn’t have a plan. He’s given up. He’s quit on you,” Mr. Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “He’s quit on your family. He’s quit on America.”

Mr. Biden spoke as new daily coronavirus case totals for the U.S. approached an all-time high and after he squared off with Mr. Trump at the second and final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee.

During the transition period between the election and the inauguration, Mr. Biden said he would reach out to governors and local elected officials to try to get them to approve mask-wearing mandates.

He said he also planned to ask Congress to put a major relief bill on his desk by the end of January.

“A pandemic doesn’t play favorites — nor will I,” he said.

He said that as president he would mandate mask-wearing in all federal buildings and all interstate transportation.

He set a goal of increasing the number of daily coronavirus tests to the same number of tests that are being conducted weekly right now, boosting production of supplies like gowns and masks, and developing a detailed, nationwide plan for reopening.

“As I said last night, I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m going to shut down the virus,” he said.

Mr. Biden said that when there is a vaccine, it “must be free and freely available to everyone.”

Earlier in the day, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien appeared to be puzzled by Mr. Biden’s choice of location for the speech with less than two weeks to go until Election Day.

“I think he’s continuing his full-court press to lock down the vote in Delaware,” Mr. Stepien told reporters. “I know Delaware hasn’t voted Republican since the ‘80s, but it’s clear he’s not leaving anything to chance. This could be a close race and those three electoral votes could be really, really important.”

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