Biden, Trump campaigns clash over unemployment claims amid coronavirus shutdown

Biden, Trump campaigns clash over unemployment claims amid coronavirus shutdown

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President Trump’s and Joe Biden’s campaigns sparred Thursday over the record number of unemployment claims in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with Biden accusing the president of “failing to prepare our nation” while Trump’s campaign fired back that Biden’s record shows he would be incapable of handling the current crisis.

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to more than 6.6 million, breaking a record high for the second week in a row, according to the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department published on Thursday.

In a statement released to the press about those unemployment claims, Biden blamed Trump and his administration for not reacting to the outbreak swiftly or sufficiently enough to protect the American people.

Biden accused Trump of failing to heed warnings about the virus, and for being too slow to impose necessary measures to counter the effects of the pandemic.

“Donald Trump is not responsible for the coronavirus, but he is responsible for failing to prepare our nation: for the months during which he continually neglected dire warnings from experts and downplayed the threat to us, and for the erratic and unacceptably slow federal response that has tragically lagged behind other countries,” Biden said.

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Biden implied that the Trump administration’s response is why the U.S. has “more coronavirus cases than anywhere in the world,” a statistic that does not take into account population sizes, and also relies on information from the Chinese government, which has been accused of falsely downplaying the toll COVID-19 has had on its population.

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The Trump campaign fired back in a statement.

“Americans are facing a public health emergency and are worried about their jobs and the economy, but Joe Biden’s record and proposals prove that he is ill-suited for a role in this fight,” Trump campaign communication director Tim Murtaugh said.

Murtaugh went on to say that during the Obama administration, Biden “oversaw the most sluggish economic recovery this country has seen since World War II,” and supported “job-killing trade deals like NAFTA and TPP.”

The Trump campaign’s statement also pointed to Biden’s support for the Green New Deal and opposition to Trump’s tax cuts, while Trump’s policies “drove the American economy to the greatest heights in half a century.”

Biden currently leads Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Democratic primary race. Sanders recently called for Wisconsin to delay their upcoming primary, which was originally scheduled for April 7. The Democratic National Convention has now been postponed from July 13-16 to the week of August 17.

Fox Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.

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