President-elect Biden called today for corporate executives and labor leaders to work together to rebuild the coronavirus-ravaged economy, and get people back to work, as he beseeched President Trump and his team to take the pandemic seriously and cooperate with the transition of power.
Biden’s remarks from The Queen theater in downtown Wilmington came after he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met virtually with a group of leading U.S. CEOs and labor leaders, including Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and United Auto Workers leader Rory Gamble.
Biden stressed that business titans and labor bosses must cooperate, just as Republican and Democratic politicians should, to rebuild the country.
Biden wants to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into clean energy and infrastructure projects, and award government contracts to companies that build their products in America. He cited a report by Moody’s that said Biden’s plan would create up to 18.6 million new jobs.
“There’s so much we can do,’’ Biden said during his prepared remarks. “The only way we can do any of this is with us working together. I know we can do this.”
The President-elect said he told corporate leaders, “I’m a union guy. Unions are going to have increased power, and understand, it’s not anti-business. It’s about creating economic growth, creating good-paying jobs.”
Biden also took several questions from reporters. He said he would take a coronavirus vaccine if Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts endorsed it, and encouraged Americans to have Thanksgiving gatherings with at most 10 people who physically distance, wear masks and have current negative coronavirus tests.
But his most pointed comments were directed at the Trump administration’s attitude about curtailing the coronavirus even as cases are skyrocketing across the country.
Joe Biden praised both Democratic and Republican governors for taking strong measures in response to recent outbreaks. But Biden sounded incredulous when he spoke about how President’s Trump’s COVID-19 adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, had urged residents of Michigan to “rise up” against new restrictions there.
“What the hell is the matter with these guys? What is the matter with them? Resist?” Biden said.
“Every major individual of any consequence in the health fields is saying we can save 100,000 lives just between now and January 20 just by wearing these masks. We’re talking about 350,000, 400,000 people dying. I mean, what are you doing? It’s totally irresponsible.”
Biden also reiterated his call to Trump change course and cooperate with the incoming administration, saying it’s for the sake of the country and a healthy economy that Trump claims to cherish.
“It would make it a lot easier if the president would participate. A lot of Republicans are suggesting that,’’ he said, noting that Harris is on the Senate Intelligence Committee and gets security briefings that he is not receiving.
“I hope that the president will be mildly more enlightened before we get to January 20,’’ said Biden, referencing his inauguration date.
Biden also called on Congress to act in the spirit of bipartisanship to pass another coronavirus stimulus package immediately to inject money into the devastated economy, so businesses can remain open and people can pay their mortgages and rent.
“The idea that the president is still playing golf and not doing anything about it is beyond my comprehension,” Biden said. “You’d think at least he would want to go off on a positive note. And what is he doing? And there’s virtually no discussion.”
He also said he hopes some Republican members of Congress to “have the courage to stand up and save lives now … This is about keeping Americans afloat, to get them through the pandemic, where businesses are able to come back.. The money is there. The money is there.”
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