Biden Just Took the Fight Right to Trump: 5 Takeaways From His PA Speech

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, left, listens to Laura Raslevich, of Pittsburgh, during a meeting with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Lancaster, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

By Keya Vakil

June 26, 2020

Biden laced into Trump over his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his failure to appropriately respond to the coronavirus, and called on Americans to wear mask in public.

Nearly every day now, a new poll shows Democrat Joe Biden with a sizable lead on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, but Biden is not resting on his laurels. On Thursday, he aggressively criticized Trump over various failings and argued that his administration was making “cruel” and “callous” decisions.

Here are the top 5 highlights from Biden’s speech:

Lacing into Trump For Trying to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Speaking from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Biden pulled no punches, railing against the Trump administration’s “cruel” and “callous” attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a global pandemic. He warned that insurance companies, if released from the ACA’s mandate to cover pre-existing conditions, could deny coverage to people who had recovered from the coronavirus. 

“If Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19 could become a new pre-existing condition,” Biden said. “If Donald Trump prevails in court, insurers would be allowed once again to strip away coverage, jack up premiums, simply because of the battle they survived fighting coronavirus.”

Biden’s speech came just hours before the Trump administration filed a legal brief officially asking the Supreme Court to strike the Affordable Care Act—a move that, if successful, would take away health coverage from more than 20 million Americans and gut protections for pre-existing conditions for 135 million Americans in the middle of a global pandemic. The brief was filed in a lawsuit brought by Texas and 17 other Republican-led states who are seeking to repeal the ACA. 

Biden also reiterated his promise to expand healthcare coverage by implementing a public insurance option. “We need a public option, now more than ever, especially when more than 20 million people are unemployed,” he said.

Knocking Trump’s Pandemic Reopening

Biden also blasted Trump’s failure to plan for a safe reopening and his inability to grasp the economic consequences of a worsening outbreak.

RELATED: Trump’s Failure to Reopen Safely Could Hurt Him on the Last Issue Voters Trust Him With: the Economy

“Amazingly, he still hasn’t grasped the most basic fact of this crisis: To fix the economy we have to get control over the virus,” Biden said. “He’s like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him. All his whining and self-pity. Well, this pandemic didn’t happen to him, it happened to all of us and his job isn’t to whine about it, his job is to do something about it—to lead.” 

The United States on Thursday recorded 39,972 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, setting a single-day record, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. While most of Europe has crushed the curve and dramatically slowed the spread of its outbreak, the U.S. outbreak is only getting worse. 

Criticizing Trump’s Decision to Order a Slowdown of Testing

The former vice president also criticized Trump’s announcement last week that he had ordered a slowdown of coronavirus testing.

“He admitted telling people, and I quote, ‘You have to slow the testing down—slow it down, please,’” said Biden. “He thinks that finding out that more Americans are sick will make him look bad. That’s what he’s worried about—he’s worried about looking bad.”

Trump, appearing in Wisconsin on Thursday, once again acknowledged why he wanted testing slowed down, saying: “If we didn’t test, we wouldn’t have cases.”

In contrast, Biden said that “testing saves lives” and reiterated an important reality: that the virus is with us, regardless of what Trump wants. “The number of cases is increasing in 29 states,” Biden said. “We are going to be dealing with this for a long time. Trump can’t wish it away. He can’t bend it to meet his political wishes. There are no miracles coming.”

Calling on Americans to Wear Masks

Donning his own face mask before and after his speech, Biden called on Americans to wear masks in public to protect themselves and others, creating a stark contrast with Trump, who has largely refused to wear masks and has instead mocked them, turning it into a partisan issue.

“I know as Americans, it’s not something we’re used to, but it matters,” Biden said. “All the evidence from all over the world tells us it might be the single most effective thing we can do.”

Studies have shown they can reduce transmission of COVID-19 by as much as 85% and an analysis from the Philadelphia Inquirer found that cases have fallen by 25% in states that mandate mask wearing in public, while they’ve risen by 84% in states without a mask mandate. 

Making His Own Case as a Leader

Biden’s entire speech was about painting a sharp contrast between him and Trump as leaders. The former vice president emphasized how Trump’s inaction has led to devastating suffering for Americans and promised that if elected, he would work to address that pain.

“If I have the honor of being President, I promise you I will lead,” Biden said. “I will do everything I can to take responsibility and ease this burden on you and your families. I will put your family first.”


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.



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