The GOP loves to point out that Joe Biden hasn’t held a press conference in nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the former Vice-President took questions from the media today, Donald Trump may be wishing the man who aims to kick him out of the Oval Office had continued to stay away from media microphones.
“I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against,” the Democrats’ presumptive nominee replied with smile to the final question from a Fox News Channel reporter who asked about his faculties and the prospect of facing the former Celebrity Apprentice host in a trio of debates.
Certain to be the cable news, social media and late-night TV takeaway from the presser held in a Wilmington, Delaware high school, Biden’s last-minute skewering of self-declared “stable genius” Trump was well within the overall tone of the Democrat’s day.
Hitting Trump for his constant “race-baiting” and lack of patriotism or concern for Americans by not wearing a coronavirus mask, Biden also let loose with a series of taunts over the incumbent’s response to COVID-19, and reports of Russian bounties being offered on US troops in Afghanistan.
“This President doesn’t seem cognitively aware of what’s going on,” Biden declared of Trump’s response that he didn’t know about the intel. He also jabbed the President over his close and fawning relationship with Vladimir Putin.
“He should at a minimum have picked up the phone and said, ‘Vladimir, old buddy, if any of this is true and it doesn’t cease immediately, you’ve got a big problem, a big problem,’” Biden said of Trump. “So, the idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed is a dereliction of duty, if that’s the case,” the ex-VP added in very blunt terms. “And if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty.”
Yesterday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed that her boss wasn’t actually personally briefed on the reported bounties that allegedly resulted in a number of US casualties, according to the Washington Post. Former Fox News regular McEnany added that Trump was not briefed due to the “dissenting opinions” among America’s various intelligence agencies about the credibility of the info.
Biden today ripped through the parsed distinction.
“If these allegations are true, and he did nothing about any of this, then in fact I think the public should…conclude that this man isn’t fit to be the President of the United States of America,” Biden said.
Trump was uncharacteristically silent today after Biden’s direct shaming, though his re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale was quick to respond, off the mark – missing the point as much as he did at the tepid Tulsa rally Trump held last week:
Has Joe Biden taken a cognitive test? He just said he’s been “tested” and is “constantly tested.”
What were the results? Why is he getting constantly tested? 👀pic.twitter.com/MVdJ3V8ovp
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) June 30, 2020
A self-pitying Trump did take to social media after Biden’s press conference with no mention of his rival:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2020
Shedding his kindly Uncle Joe persona in scathing remarks before the press conference, Biden centered on the administration’s stumbling reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. “It seems like our wartime president surrendered, waved the white flag, and left the battlefield,” Biden lamented, mocking Trump’s tough-guy image.
In contrast, as he laid out another plan to combat the surging pandemic, Biden told the assembled reporters in his hometown that “I’m not going to be holding rallies” during the campaign with COVID-19 cases on the rise across the nation. “I would much rather be out there with people,” Biden admitted in a nod to his traditional retail politics approach.
Biden also didn’t shy away from the social and cultural changes sweeping the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of those Minneapolis cops.
“I can understand the anger and anguish of having a statue of Robert E Lee if you are an African-American,” the veep to America’s first African-American commander-in-chief said of the toppling of historical monuments in response to “systemic racism in America…Don’t be surprised if someone pulls down a statute of Jefferson Davis,” the potential next POTUS said of the ex-Mississippi Senator who served as the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Walking a delicate line, Biden offered up a nuanced reaction to the destruction of statutes that has seen the defaming of Confederate figures and also Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union Army to victory.
“There’s a distinction between …a difference between reminders and remembrances of history and recovering from history,” Biden asserted, paraphrasing former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who took down Confederate statues during his time in office.
“So, the idea of comparing whether George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves [to] somebody who was in rebellion, committing treason, trying to take down the union to keep slavery, I think there is as distinction there, Biden said. “So, I think the idea of bring bringing down, I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals who strongly supported secession and the maintenance of slavery and went to war to do it, I think those statues belong in museums, they don’t belong in public places.”
After he walked away from the podium on Tuesday, Biden himself took to social media to slam home his point about Trump’s coronavirus policy, or lack thereof:
Mr. President, the American people didn’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so you could waste your time with late night rants and tweets.
Step up. Take responsibility. Do your job.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 30, 2020
Biden promised to keep Dr, Anthony Fauci on the job and his press conference appearance also comes on a day when National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director warned a Congressional committee that he “wouldn’t be surprised if we go up to 100,000 [cases] a day if this does not turn around.”
With borders closed, domestic and international travel restricted and a number of states going into lockdown again, there are around 2.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the USA, with nearly 130,000 Americans dead so far from the virus.
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