Instead of urging unity and calm, Biden spent a large portion of the speech leveling political attacks on the president. Biden, in particular, argued that Trump’s policies and demeanor in the White House only exacerbated tensions in the public health and safety sectors.
“Unfortunately, this virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration,” the former vice president said. “Public fears are being compounded by [a] pervasive lack of trust in this president, fueled by an adversarial relationship with the truth.”
Despite the tough rhetoric, many of the proposals Biden suggested for combating the virus were, in fact, already central to the Trump administration’s efforts.
For instance, Biden’s plan calls for “no efforts” to be spared in getting private laboratories and universities to help test for the virus. The suggestion mirrors a move the Trump administration took in February in ordering the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow hundreds of academic hospitals and private laboratories to start testing for the coronavirus.
Similarly, the former vice president’s plan argues in favor of a federal relief effort for small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. The idea is identical to one Trump, himself, proposed on Wednesday, while addressing the nation in prime time. Trump’s version, which has been presented to Congress in the form of a $50 billion appropriation for low-interest loans to small businesses, includes detailed requirements for cost, eligibility, and implementation. Biden’s proposal, on the other hand, is vague in terms of cost, only stating the former vice president would push for the creation of a small-business loan program upon taking office.
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