Joe Biden pushes Trump for worker protections in coronavirus bailout

Joe Biden makes a statement on coronavirus, March 23, 2020.

Source: Joe Biden

Joe Biden on Monday urged President Donald Trump to make workers a priority in the efforts to limit the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The former vice president’s address was live-streamed over YouTube, part of his campaign’s attempt to restructure its strategy away from in-person events as the disease spreads.

Biden, in an attempt to draw a contrast with Trump’s more combative style, spoke about the impact the pandemic is having on people across the country. He called on Trump to focus on helping workers get a paycheck while businesses start to close. 

“For workers and small businesses, we should be focused on them,” said Biden, who often touts his blue-collar roots. He also offered warnings about the hazards of bailing out corporations without commensurate worker protections. 

“If corporations take money from tax payers they have to make an enforceable commitment that they will keep workers on the payroll,” Biden said.  

Biden’s remarks, which came as lawmakers were trying to strike a deal on a massive stimulus bill, were not without some hiccups. As the camera turned on, someone behind the scenes told Biden “mics are hot,” with the former vice president then asking if he was cleared to start talking. About seven minutes into his discussion, there was a shuffling of papers, and as as Biden tried to describe what he hoped to see from the administrations response, he made a signal to the cameraman. 

The Democratic front-runner’s YouTube live feed had over 5,000 views as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Monday. 

Biden has been prodded by his allies to start speaking directly to voters as Trump continues to dominate the national platform. Polls have shown that voters are approving of how the president is handling the federal government’s response to the coronavirus. 

“What I’m concerned about is that we see Donald Trump every day with this crisis giving his press report. And I would just love to see you more,” a donor told Biden a virtual fundraising call on Sunday.

“They put in a new high speed line into my home, they’ve converted a recreation room, basically, into a television studio,” Biden said in response. 

Although Biden suggested on Monday that this was not the time for politics, he recently released a plan contrasting how he would handle the coronavirus if he were president. 

His campaign has also started to publish digital ads, focusing on Trump’s response. Biden posted on the ads on both his Facebook and Twitter pages, showing a split screen of how Trump has publicly discussed the virus versus the former vice presidents approach.  “This moment calls for a president. In November you can elect one” the ad concludes. 

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