Biden says Trump still doing ‘nothing’ to rein in pandemic

Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden said Thursday that Donald Trump has refused to boost efforts to combat the coronavirus even after he tested positive, accusing the US president of doing “nothing” to improve conditions for Americans.

“We’re in a situation where we have 210,000 plus people dead and what’s he doing? Nothing. He’s still not wearing masks,” Biden said during a televised town hall event held live on ABC, as Trump was holding a competing town hall on rival network NBC.

The former vice president, 77, appeared composed and spoke directly to voters in a hall in Philadelphia as he made his case for ousting Trump in the November 3 election just 19 days away.

The tone marked a sharp contrast to the Trump, who appeared agitated as he vented against Democrats and discussed conspiracy theories during his event.

Biden said he had warned early in 2020 that “this is a serious problem.”

“Trump denied it, he said it wasn’t,” Biden said. “We later learned that he knew full well how serious it was” when the president conducted an interview with journalist Bob Woodward.

“He said he didn’t tell anybody because he was afraid Americans would panic,” Biden said. “Americans don’t panic. He panicked.”

Biden arrived wearing a mask as he sat down on a stage a safe social distance from moderator George Stephanopoulos. The men removed their masks as the program began, and members of the audience who were spaced apart also asked their questions without wearing masks. (AFP)