Biden says will talk soon with Trump on coronavirus response

Washington (AFP) –


Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden said Thursday he was finalizing plans to speak by telephone with President Donald Trump about the coronavirus crisis and how to stem the deadly pandemic.

The administration suggested Wednesday that Biden, the former vice president and likely challenger to Trump in November's election, call the president to offer his assistance.

"I'm happy to hear he'll take my call," Biden told an online press conference. "My team is working with his team to set such a call up."

Coronavirus has stretched America's health care system to the breaking point.

More than 5,600 people have already died in the country. Of the one million confirmed and reported cases worldwide as of Thursday, 236,000 are in the United States.

Several Democrats have accused Trump of downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak early on, and Biden has joined in the criticism, saying Trump has fudged the response.

But Biden, who like most Americans remains hunkered down in his home, did stress how he has been offering his advice and proposing policies for weeks "for what I thought should be done."

"The president is welcome to adopt every single thing I suggested (that) he thought was worthwhile," Biden said, adding he was not offering help to belittle Trump.

"I wasn't going to be out there saying he took my idea," Biden added. "It's a matter of the president doing what could most effectively get things done now."