By Steve Herman
The presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, Joe Biden, told Americans Tuesday that President Donald Trump “has quit on you and he’s quit on this country.”
In livestreamed remarks, Biden blamed Trump for failing to lead during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that as COVID-19 infections spread each day, “too many American workers are still out of work and losing hope.”
The former vice president said that Trump’s own staff has acknowledged he fails the most important test of being an American president: “The duty to care for you, for all of us.”
Biden added: “A president is supposed to care, to lead, to take responsibility, to never give up.”
During Tuesday’s daily coronavirus briefing, however, Trump sought to portray his administration as effectively leading the response, saying potential vaccines are “coming a lot sooner than anybody thought possible” and discussed a new aid package for Americans affected by the virus. The White House began the daily briefings after stopping them in late April.
Biden’s remarks came during the latest low-key campaign event he has held in his home state of Delaware. The setting was an elementary school auditorium in New Castle, attended by fewer than 30 people, including a few invited guests, campaign staff, Biden’s Secret Service detail and a pool of reporters, due to social distancing.
The event was primarily intended to roll out the third plank of Biden’s economic plan, known as “Build Back Better,” focusing on child care and home health care, with a pledge to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
The situation with child care in the United States “is dire,” said Biden, who declared, we’re in a “child care emergency.”
Biden promised his plan would give every 3- or 4-year-old child “access to free, high-quality preschool.”
Home health care workers would get access to training to become an emergency medical technician, nurse or even a doctor, Biden said of his plan.
He said it would put 3 million Americans to work in child care and home care, and would allow even more to go out into the labor force who can’t go out into workforce due to the “caregiving squeeze.”
“This is both a moral and economic imperative for the nation in my view,” he said.
His economic platform to increase access to child care and health care “is about dignity and respect for working people,” Biden said. “And that’s precisely what this election is all about: dignity and respect.
Biden’s remarks Tuesday came 100 days before voters choose between either him or Trump.
Recent polls indicate the former vice president leading the incumbent president, including a Reuters/Ipsos poll of registered voters conducted last week that put Biden 10 percentage points ahead.
The Democratic candidate has detailed several other parts of his economic recovery plan while criticizing Trump’s coronavirus response and his handling of the economy.
Trump has countered by positioning himself as the candidate best capable of boosting the economy, calling Biden, who will turn 78 in November, “totally ill-equipped” and questioning his opponent’s mental acuity, boasting in a recent interview of performing well on a cognitive test.
Trump is 74.
Earlier this month, Biden proposed a $700 billion manufacturing plan that he said would add 5 million new jobs to help cope with the spike in unemployment during the pandemic.
Biden said his plan includes $300 billion for research and development projects in clean energy, telecommunications, artificial intelligence and other fields. It also includes $400 billion for the government purchase of U.S.-built goods, such as environmentally clean products and construction materials.
Last week, Biden proposed spending $2 trillion to fight climate change and cut carbon emissions from power plants to zero by 2035.
The Biden campaign has said another piece of the plan to be revealed in a future speech involves efforts to advance racial equity in the aftermath of national protests against police brutality.
During his presidency, Trump has regularly touted massive renovation and expansion of America’s infrastructure. He has accomplished regulatory changes to ease development and construction through executive orders. His projects that would need spending approval from lawmakers have run into opposition from some in both parties due to their scope and size, and how they would be funded.
In recent months, the pandemic and the resulting loss of jobs have forced the administration to shift focus from what has been a centerpiece of the president’s 2016 campaign pledge.