Joe Biden challenged President Donald Trump to 'get off twitter' and meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders to pass emergency funding for schools dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
'Get off Twitter and start talking to the congressional leaders in both parties. Invite them to the Oval Office,' Biden said Wednesday in a campaign speech designed to focus the country's attention back on the COVID crisis.
'You always talk about your ability to negotiate. Negotiate a deal,' the Democratic presidential nominee challenged his Republican rival.
Joe Biden challenged President Donald Trump to 'get off twitter' and meet with Congressional leaders to get emergency funding for schools
Students wearing protective masks have their temperatures checked before entering Logan Jr. High School in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 1
Joe Biden attacked President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, showing how it is has impacted the everyday lives of Americans and disrupted the school year
Biden and his wife Jill, who is a teacher, received a briefing on schools and how they are handling the pandemic ahead of Biden's remarks as his campaign sought to turn the national conversation back to the pandemic, where voters give the president low marks for his handling.
Trump has been pushing his 'law and order' themed presidency and bashing Black Lives Matters protesters for causing damage in their demonstrations across the country.
But Biden sought to show sympathy with families who are struggling with the challenges of every day life under the pandemic, which has infected more than 6.9 million people in the United States and killed more than 185,000 people.
'If President Trump and his Administration had done their jobs America’s schools would be open,' he said in his attack on the president's handling of the crisis.
'Instead American families all across this country are paying a price for his failures,' he added.
The speech was part of Biden's strategy to appear presidential in contrast to Trump. He'll keep adding to that comparison when he goes to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to hold a town hall meeting on the racial tensions that came after a white police officer shot Jacob Blake, a black man, seven times in the back in front of his children.
'There's been overwhelming requests that I do come because what we're going to do is we got to heal,' Biden said when asked about his visit.
We got to put things together, bring people together. And so, my purpose in going will be to do just that to be a positive influence on what's going on. Talk about what needs to be done,' he said.
Trump was in Kenosha on Tuesday, where he had few words for Blake and his family but offered a defense of the police and criticism of the protests.
'These are not peaceful protests but domestic terror,' he said during his visit.
Joe and Jill Biden will also visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the 19th anniversary of 9/11, on Friday, September 11. President Trump and Melania Trump visited the memorial on September 11, 2018.
While Biden has pushed to keep the national conversation on the coronavirus, some Democrats have fretted he should be taking on the president's tough talk about the demonstrations that have sprung up in cities around the country, sparking fear among the party it could hurt Biden at the polls.
Joe and Jill Biden arrive to take part in a virtual meeting on reopening schools amid the coronavirus disease
Joe and Jill Biden got a briefing from experts before Biden made his speech attacking President Trump's handling of the pandemic
But Biden said Wednesday the situation in the nation's schools was a national emergency and called on Congress to pass emergency funding to help schools deal with the crisis.
'Protecting our students, our educators, and our communities. Getting our schools open safely and effectively – this is a national emergency,' he said.
He outlined the action he would take as president: K-12 schools would get full access to disaster relief and emergency assistance funds; PPE and sanitation supplies for schools; emergency funding for ventilation and other health measures; more money to hire more teachers to keep classes small and socially distanced money; and funds for more psychologists and counselors to support children's mental health.
Biden gave a cost estimate of $200 billion with additional money needed for colleges and universities.
His speech came after President Trump attacked him for 'low energy' and complained his rival was 'back in his basement' after the Democratic nominee made a highly-visible campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Trump also claimed Biden is on some kind unspecified 'enhancement' drug during an interview with Fox News that aired on Tuesday. But he did not offer any proof and was not pressed on his claim.
The president lashed out at his rival after a new round of polls showed Biden in the lead after the Republican National Convention, despite the expectation Trump would get a boost after his nomination for a second term.