One of the first calls Joe Biden would make after being elected president would be to ask Anthony Fauci to serve in his administration, where the pandemics expert would be empowered to act in ways Donald Trump has forbidden, the Democratic nominee plans to say in a speech Tuesday outlining his plan for eradicating the coronavirus.
The Biden campaign said the speech is intended to strike a contrast with Trump, who the Democrat says has mismanaged the virus and sidelined Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under six presidents.
In a Biden administration, Fauci would have full access to the Oval Office and “an uncensored platform to speak directly to the American people — whether delivering good news or bad,” the Biden campaign said in a fact sheet. Fauci has said that he no longer speaks with Trump and his public appearances have been limited in recent weeks.
The candidate is also promising that as soon as he’s elected, he’ll begin to convene governors, mayors and other leaders from both parties and every state, territory and tribe, as well as leaders from business, labor, technology and education “so he’s ready to hit the ground running and fight the virus” upon taking office, the campaign said.
Biden’s update on his plans to continue to fighting Covid-19 comes more than six months after the first reported case in the U.S. He will also return in the speech to what’s become a familiar theme — a failed presidential response that has exacerbated a crisis other countries have managed to control.
In his speech, Biden will encourage Trump to adopt his plan, urging the president to focus on solving the crisis and not on politics.
“The American people didn’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so you could waste your time with late night rantings and tweets,” Biden will say, according to excerpts released by his campaign. “They didn’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps like wearing a mask into a political statement. And they certainly didn’t do it so you could wash your hands and walk away.”
Biden will also assail Trump for holding a crowded campaign rally and playing golf. And the Democratic nominee will charge that the president called for slowing down testing for the virus because increased cases would hurt his political prospects.
Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s campaign, said Biden was using the pandemic as “a political weapon in a cynical attempt to undermine confidence in the federal response.”
“Joe Biden will trot out, yet again, his same tired attacks on President Trump’s federal coronavirus response. Since the beginning, he has done nothing but lob partisan grenades from his basement in Delaware while facing very little scrutiny for his own record,” Murtaugh said on a call with reporters. “The only thing that Joe Biden knows about handling a public health crisis is that he can’t.”
More than 125,000 Americans have died as a result of the pandemic and millions have lost their jobs as the economy shut down to stop the spread. In recent weeks, new hot spots have emerged as some states reopened their economies, particularly in the South and across the Sunbelt.
Biden will outline steps the country should take to fight the virus and safely reopen the economy, his campaign added. The former vice president has previously called on all Americans to wear masks and said if he were president, he would make it compulsory.
Trump has refused to wear a mask and has not explicitly encouraged Americans to do so.
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