LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, and he pushed back against claims by the president's campaign that he condones violent protests against law enforcement.
Speaking to KSNV via Zoom, the former vice president called for a national mandate to wear masks in public to slow the spread of the virus.
"Look, there are some places where when the curve is going down, you can begin to loosen things, but we should have a mask mandate until we get this under control," Biden said.
“I’ve laid out three comprehensive plans since March on how to get this pandemic under control and effectively open the economy. Wear a mask, social distance, test, trace, protective gear,” he added.
The Trump campaign claims the president moved quickly to stop the spread of the disease and has since worked with states to give them the tools to fight the virus. Critics like Biden say the response has been haphazard, missing strong federal leadership.
“Well, first of all, he’s been behind the curve from the beginning,” Biden said, offering his assessment of the President’s actions.
The pandemic is one thing. Protests, sparked by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis, are another.
Many have been peaceful, but others haven't. The Trump campaign sent out an email Tuesday asking whether Biden condones the violence, and the presumptive Democratic nominee flatly rejected that notion.
"The vast majority of the protests have been peaceful. Anyone who burns or pillages...should be arrested. They are a problem for society and they make a mockery of what the march is all about. They should be tried, arrested and put in jail," Biden said.
The former vice president also insisted he does not support calls to "defund" the police, despite claims by the president that he does.
"Absolutely not. I do not support and I never have. What I support is strong and serious reform of police departments which most serious police officers in the country support. And we should have transparency in what in fact occurs within police departments as it relates to accusations of brutality or violating peoples’ rights," Biden says.
In a separate interview with KSNV Tuesday, current Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump's record and expressed confidence the Republican ticket can defeat Biden in November, despite polls showing the Democrat in the lead with less than 100 days to go.
"It is a choice between the left-wing agenda of Joe Biden and the Democrat Party of today, and a common-sense conservative agenda that made America great again in the first three years, and will make America great again one more time with four more years of President Donald Trump," said Pence.