By Amanda Menas
On the night that was supposed to be the second presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump appeared at separate events presenting their vastly different visions to voters.
“The words of a president matter,” Biden said of Trump’s actions regarding the coronavirus pandemic during his town hall on ABC. “When a president doesn’t wear a mask, or makes fun of folks like me when I was wearing a mask, for a long time, then people say, ‘Well, you know, it mustn’t be that important.’”
Biden presented his vision of leadership to bring back the American economy, workforce, and middle class out of the recession caused by the pandemic and Donald Trump’s failed response. He pointed to his leadership throughout the spring in calling for school closures and reopening safely by listening to the experts, while Trump lied and hid the facts from the public.
“You can open businesses and schools if in fact you provide them the guidance that they need as well as the money to be able to do it,” said Biden about his school reopening plan if elected. Biden noted that Trump’s administration told the American public that they would provide masks for every student and teacher, and then subsequently walked it back. “We need more teachers in our schools to be able to open and smaller pods. We need ventilation systems changed,” Biden said.
Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have failed students, educators, and the American people with their response to the pandemic. Trump even failed to take responsibility for his own role in contracting and spreading the coronavirus at a White House super spreader event. He has demonstrated time and again that he cannot be trusted to protect our educators and students.
During his town hall on NBC, Trump was asked a question by a Florida teacher regarding police brutality in communities of color.
“As the mother of a young male of color, I have raised him to respect authority, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also out of fear that he may face profiling or be considered a criminal. As an educator, I’ve also had similar conversations with my high school students. Mr. President, what will you and your administration do to better prepare our law enforcement officers to work in collaboration with the communities that they serve and also to protect the lives of innocent Black and Latinos from police brutality and injustice?” asked Cindy Velez.
Trump did not offer a plan for ending police brutality. Instead he blamed Democrats and went on to claim, “I have done more to help the African American community than any president. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln.”
Biden will be a better partner to communities of color and believes in elevating public education for all Americans by investing in universal pre-K, advocating for more diversity in the teaching profession, and providing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.
Educators, students, and communities deserve better than the COVID response we’ve seen from the Trump Administration. Joe Biden has a plan to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control by listening to scientists and experts.