Biden calls for Trump to step down over pandemic response

'You’ve got to level with the American people — shoot from the shoulder,' he said, blasting Trump's handling of COVID-19.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said President Donald Trump should “step down” because of his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an outdoor CNN town hall just outside Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the former vice president called Trump’s downplaying of the pandemic “totally irresponsible.”

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden talks with local firefighters as he leaves a CNN town hall event in Moosic, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The idea that you’re going to not tell people what you’ve been told, that this virus is incredibly contagious, seven times more contagious than the flu; you breathe the air, you get it sucked in your lungs. He knew it and did nothing. It’s close to criminal,” Biden said of Trump, talking to moderating host Anderson Cooper.

“You’ve got to level with the American people — shoot from the shoulder. There’s not been a time they’ve not been able to step up. The president should step down,” Biden contended to applause from small sets of groups assembled Thursday night.

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The town hall was conducted in a drive-in format with 35 cars parked outside PNC Field. The vehicles were parked around the stage, with groups of people standing outside them or sitting on portable chairs. Each parking space was marked off with white chalk to ensure that each group remained more than six feet apart.

In response to statements from Attorney General William Barr equating mask-wearing to slavery, Biden called the comments “sick.”

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“I will tell you what takes away your freedom: not being able to see your kid, not being able to go to the football game or baseball game, not seeing your mom or dad sick in the hospital, not being able to do things. That’s what is costing us our freedom,” Biden said. “And it’s been the failure of this President to deal with this virus.”

Also on Thursday night, President Trump told a Wisconsin rally audience that “your home has become your prison.”

Biden also criticized Trump for continuing to host large rallies with unmasked supporters. He called wearing masks a “patriotic duty.”

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