(CN) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went after President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, slamming his Republican rival for not expanding testing.
During a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the former vice president focused on what he said was Trump’s failure to protect the American people as well as the need to control the pandemic and safely reopen the economy.
Biden repeatedly contrasted his own efforts and ideas to slow the spread of Covid-19 with Trump’s recent actions, including laying out a cutoff date for federal funding for testing sites in several states.
“Despite the administration’s propaganda that their response should be a cause for celebration, despite President Trump’s request that we should slow down testing because he thinks it makes him look bad, Covid-19 is still here,” Biden said before urging the president to adopt his new reopening guidelines.
The plan, which Biden released on Tuesday, calls for the doubling of drive-through testing sites as well as the implementation of a national contact tracing workforce of more than 100,000 people.
“We won’t defeat this virus with a piecemeal approach — lifting restrictions prematurely, increasing the volatility of the crisis, and raising the likelihood of needing to reimpose restrictions,” he said.
The former vice president told viewers that Trump, a self-styled wartime president during the outbreak, essentially surrendered to the virus.
Recent polls show Trump is trailing behind Biden less than five months away from the November election.
“In January, I sounded the alarm over the coronavirus outbreak. Trump told the country that he had Covid-19 ‘totally under control’ and that everything would all ‘work out well,” Biden said.
He added that he released several detailed plans to curb the pandemic throughout the outbreak, such as establishing 500 federally funded testing sites nationwide and plans to secure the supply chain for personal protective equipment.
“In May, I condemned the false choice between preserving our public health and our economy. I urged the administration to focus on the basic public health measures like testing that would enable us to sustain our economic recovery,” Biden said. “Trump’s response? He pushed for reopening without regard for safety and called testing ‘frankly overrated.’”
In addition to Trump’s response to the pandemic, Biden also lambasted him on Tuesday over a failure to act on intelligence that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan. The White House has denied that Trump was briefed on the matter, though a report from the New York Times says otherwise.
“If he wasn’t briefed, it was a dereliction of duty, and if he was briefed and didn’t do anything, that is a dereliction of duty,” Biden said.
According to a poll released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday, the share of Americans who are satisfied with the way things are going in the country overall plummeted from 31% in April to just 12%.
The drop in public satisfaction coincides with the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of protests over police violence in the country.
Of those polled, only 10% of Democrats said they feel proud when thinking about the state of America, while 25% of Republicans said the same.