Biden: I can’t wait to debate Trump, who is ‘derelict in duty’

Stern Biden
“We can’t continue half-recovering, half-getting-worse,” Biden said of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Associated Press)

WILMINGTON, Del. (WKBT) — Former Vice President Joe Biden, accusing President Donald Trump of “an absolute dereliction of duty” on Tuesday, declared that he can’t wait to debate Trump.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told reporters during a press conference in his hometown that Trump has abdicated his duty to protect American citizens facing a pandemic and economic calamity, as well as U.S. troops facing Russian enemies abroad.
Biden accused Trump of “waving the white flag” as coronavirus cases spike nationwide and the death toll passes 125,000.
Trump has “a lot to answer for” if news reports are true that he was advised as early as March 2019 of intelligence reports that Russia was offering Taliban fighters bounties on American troops, Biden said during the first press conference-style event he has convened since April 2.
Biden stopped short of saying Trump had violated his oath of office or should face any consequences from Congress based the bounty reports.
But he decried it as “an absolute dereliction of duty if any of this is even remotely true.”
The Associated Press and other media reports have reported that at least one of Trump’s daily intelligence briefings included evidence of Russian bounties. Trump has insisted that he was never briefed because the reports weren’t credible.
Biden said Trump should have called his military and national security teams together to reconcile any intelligence discrepancies on the Russian bounty reports.
Although Biden said he himself has not had a classified briefing on the material or Trump’s handling of it, he said he may request one soon. Major party nominees receive daily intelligence briefings, but Biden is not yet the official nominee.
The 77-year-old Biden also used Trump’s explanations that he didn’t know about such intelligence reports to flip the president’s frequent mockery of Biden’s mental acuity, including labeling him as “sleepy Joe.”
The 74-year-old Trump “doesn’t seem to be cognitively aware” himself, Biden said.
Looking forward to three presidential debates, Biden said, “I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against,”
On the coronavirus, Biden lambasted Trump for not harnessing the power of the federal government.
If elected, Biden said he would implement a national system of testing for the virus and tracing the exposure path of those who are diagnosed. That is necessary to restore the confidence that businesses, workers and consumers need to jump-start the economy.
Widespread use of masks and physical distancing practices must become normal protocol for the “foreseeable future,” he said.
“We can’t continue half-recovering, half-getting-worse,” Biden said. “We can’t continue half with a plan and half just hoping for the best. We can’t defeat this virus with a piecemeal approach.”
Trump’s reelection campaign countered that the president has been at the forefront of the nation’s coronavirus response.
While “Joe Biden spent the last five months trying to come up with a plan, the president has been leading one that slowed the spread, made us the world leader in testing, and reopened our economy,” according to a statement from Ali Pardo, the Trump campaign’s deputy communications director.