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Biden: Trump 'Has to be Able to Provide For Providing Significantly No More Masks'

By Susan Jones | March 31, 2020 | 7:29am EDT
Former Vice President Joe Biden reads from a script in his basement studio. (Photo: Screen capture/MSNBC)
Former Vice President Joe Biden reads from a script in his basement studio. (Photo: Screen capture/MSNBC)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has been making TV appearances from his home in Delaware.

On Monday morning, Biden spoke with MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian.

At one point in that interview, Biden said that Trump "has to be able to provide for providing significantly no more masks to protect these--these first responders and these docs and nurses."

Vossoughian asked Biden about his "message" to "terrified" Americans:

My message is that the president has to move more rapidly. You know, we know from experience that speed matters. We know that you can't go too fast. It's about going too slow.

And in order to avoid that -- those very high (death) numbers, we have to do at least several things. [He looks down at notes or a script,]

One, we have to depend on what the president is going to do right now. And first of all, he has to tell -- wait until the cases -- before anything happens -- look, the whole idea is, he's got to get in place things that were shortages of.

We're not testing enough people. We don't -- our first responders, docs and nurses, don't have the gloves, the masks. They don't have the equipment they need. We're short on ventilators. And as this spreads to other areas, and which is likely to do, we don't have the capacity to surge the equipment that they need.

We have to -- he has to use the Defense Production Act much more aggressively, including not just to ventilators, but getting gloves, masks, shields, gowns, et cetera.

Vossoughian asked Biden, "What exactly" needs to happen to get things moving more rapidly.

"At this very moment, it means the president has to surge more equipment to New York and other places that are clearly in distress," Biden said. "And that means he has to be able to provide for providing significantly no more masks to protect these -- these first responders and these docs and nurses."

Hours later, President Donald Trump announced that he is already doing exactly what Biden suggested -- providing more equipment, testing and other support to places that need it.

President Trump signed the Defense Production Act several weeks ago, but he didn't apply it until last week, when he directed General Motors to start producing ventilators.

“We will not hesitate to use the full authority of the federal government to combat this crisis,” Trump said at a White House briefing last week. “We thought we had a deal with, as an example, General Motors, and I guess they thought otherwise. They didn’t agree, and now they do.”

Until his directive to GM, Trump said he was satisfied with the voluntary response of so many American companies that are stepping forward to produce badly needed masks and other equipment to deal with the pandemic.  Trump on Monday introduced and thanked yet another group of CEOs for their efforts.

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