(Headline USA) Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, who insisted in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 election that he had his own plan for handling the coronavirus, complained Thursday that President Donald Trump won’t let him plagiarize the current one.
Biden has long been critical of the Trump administration response, constantly second-guessing it and campaigning on it, even as evidence has validated some of Trump’s early decisions.
The former vice president is currently leading in the elector count, though challenges remain in six to eight states where Trump’s campaign lawyers have identified the possibility of widespread vote fraud that may have undermined election integrity.
Trump would need to secure only three of those states to win re-election before the Electoral College convenes on Dec. 14.
Only days after Biden prematurely declared victory in the election, Pfizer announced it had developed a vaccine with more than 90 percent recovery rate. Moderna soon followed, saying it had one with an even higher rate.
Both pharmaceutical companies received funding and fast-tracked capabilities via Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, a partnership with private pharmaceutical companies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Nonetheless, Pfizer, a German-based company, was reported to have announced the news to Biden in advance and left the White House in the dark.
In a conference call on Thursday with nine state governors, Biden complained that the president was hindering the flow of information about programs to develop a vitally important coronavirus vaccine.
“Unfortunately, my administration hasn’t been able to get everything we need,” Biden said during a video conference with the National Governors Association’s leadership team, which consists of five Republicans and four Democrats.
As a courtesy, Republicans Larry Hogan of Maryland, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Kay Ivey of Alabama, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gary Herbert of Utah all participated.
There is no indication that their involvement constituted an endorsement or recognition of Biden’s claim, although Hogan and Baker— both of whom oversee heavily blue-leaning East Coast states—have been vocal NeverTrumpers.
“There’s a real desire for real partnership between the states and the federal government,” Biden claimed.
If elected, Biden would inherit responsibility for managing the worst public health crisis in a century, although questions abound regarding the actual fatality rate outside of high-risk populations such as those in nursing homes and those with pre-existing conditions.
Biden—who conspired with members of the Obama intelligence community to undermine Trump during his transition following the 2016 election—also griped that he had been denied access to other critical information, including security briefings.
Participating from a theater in Wilmington, Delaware, with his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Biden specifically cited Operation Warp Speed.
“We haven’t been able to get into Operation Warp Speed, but we will take what we learned today and build it into our plan,” Biden said in remarks after the meeting.
Afterward, he spoke about distribution of a vaccine once one is ready, saying, “There has to be a prioritization.”
“That’s why I’d like to know exactly what this administration has in mind in terms of their Operation Warp Speed and how they plan it,” he said of the Trump White House.
“And that’s what we talked about with the governors today,” he continued. “They all mentioned the need to focus on the communities that have been left behind.”
Even as he warned of the gravity of the situation, however, Biden claimed he would not institute a nationwide shutdown to curb the virus’s spread—a widely unpopular proposition that he had hinted at supporting at one point during the campaign.
He said he’d forgo a national shutdown “because every region, every area, every community can be different.”
Biden may, however, attempt to impose and unconstitutional mask mandate, even as evidence continues to suggests they have little effect. He repeated that more states instituting mask-wearing mandates could save tens of thousands of lives.
Biden noted that 10 governors have imposed statewide mask mandates to combat the virus, calling wearing face coverings a “patriotic duty.”
He’s previously vowed to ask all governors to impose such rules and go around holdouts to local and county officials to cover as much of the U.S. as possible.
Ivey told videoconference participants that both parties in Congress need to come together to provide more coronavirus response funding, according to a readout provided by her office. It made no mention of the Alabama governor recognizing Biden as president-elect.
An hourlong briefing by the White House coronavirus task force that also took place Thursday made no mention of Biden or of Trump’s refusal to coordinate with him on plans to distribute upcoming vaccines.
But it did reinforce Democrats’ warnings that a “dark winter” is coming as virus cases appear once again to be spiking across the country.
Task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx sounded the alarm over the rate of new infections—sharper than the surge this summer or even the initial outbreak last spring.
While there have been improvements in treatment protocols and new therapeutics, tens of thousands of people—or more—will die before vaccines are widely available, she said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press