Former Vice President Joe Biden made a South Florida stop on Monday, limiting his direct attacks on President Donald Trump over the coronavirus during the last several days at the start of his visit - but less than an hour after President Trump stood at the White House without a mask, that changed.
“I would hope the President, having gone what he had gone through and he seems to be coming along pretty well, would communicate the right lesson to the American people,” the Democratic nominee said during the NBC News town hall at the Perez Art Museum in downtown Miami.
Biden was asked about what he would do moving forward to address COVID on a health and economic front.
“As President of the United States, I would make a federal mandate on federal property, federal buildings you must wear a mask, period, and you must be social distanced,” Biden said.
An issue that many workers in the audience had questions about: tourism. The industry in South Florida took a major hit during the pandemic, but Biden says steps could have already been taken to fix the problem.
“Congress passed the legislation to provide the money to keep the airlines up and running,” he said. “We have to provide funding to do it for people who have been caught in the lurch.”
Biden was quick to defend protecting police officers, but also saying reforms are needed in the wake of protests and violence across the country.
“The vast, vast majority of police are honorable decent men and women who risk their lives every single day. They have a right to come home safely, but there’s bad apples in every profession,” Biden said. “The same with protestors. It’s a right to protest peacefully, but once you pick up a bat and start smashing windows you should be arrested.”
Earlier in the day, Biden was joined by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at events in both Little Haiti and Little Havana - the second location known for its strong support of President Trump among Cuban-American voters.
“He can’t do it without you, Miami, because this is our moment,” Dr. Biden said. “There are no do-over. There is no time to sit by and watch what happens. We have to decide what happens.”
Biden said he would support the extension of the Temporary Protection Status programs for immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean.
“I’ll give you my word as a Biden, I will be there,” he said. “I will stand with you. There is so much we can do."