Per The Hill, in a statement released on Saturday, Biden argued that the federal government needs to get involved in order to prevent states from engaging in a bidding war over critical supplies for hospitals and health care providers.
“States, hospitals, and health care providers should not have to bid against one another, or against the federal government to get the supplies that they desperately need,” Biden said.
“We need a Supply Commander to step up and take charge and get the doctors, nurses, health care workers, first responders, firefighters, and cops the equipment they need to protect themselves and save lives.”
According to Biden, the Trump administration’s current strategy is “not working,” and changes need to be made. If he were president, Biden said, he would have the supply commander coordinate with all states, with each state appointing a commander of its own. Under Biden’s plan, the National Guard and the U.S. Public Health Corps would collaborate with the commanders to distribute the necessary supplies.
As The Hill notes, Biden’s statement is a clear signal that he is trying to claim the spotlight and shift the public’s attention back to the presidential race. The coronavirus pandemic has forced Biden off the campaign trail, but Trump has been holding daily press briefings at the White House.
Biden is not the first Democrat to call on Trump to appoint a figure to oversee the distribution of medical supplies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did the same earlier this week. He was instantly rebuffed by Trump, however, who blasted him via Twitter and in an official letter.
“Somebody please explain to Cryin’ Chuck Schumer that we do have a military man in charge of distributing goods, a very talented Admiral, in fact,” the president tweeted, referring to Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s supply chain task force.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 300,000 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus. The worst is yet to come, Trump warned during the daily press briefing, claiming that the nation is about to go through the “toughest week” in the fight against the virus.
The president also argued that a full national lockdown is not necessary and suggested that he is growing increasingly impatient with the measures imposed by the government.