Updated Apr 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden's "four Cs" of Trump coronavirus criticism

Joe Biden speaks at an event in March in Delware. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Watch for Joe Biden and his surrogates to stand up a disciplined criticism of President Trump's coronavirus response around "the four Cs," per a campaign memo obtained by Axios: "Coverup." "Chaos." "Corporate favoritism." And "caving" to lobbyists.

Why it matters: The memo signals the presumptive Democratic nominee's intention to make Trump's handling of the pandemic a central attack and provides the first detailed look at how his campaign intends to do it.

  • It was sent Tuesday to Democratic strategists and elected officials by deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield.
  • She wrote that many of its recipients have sought guidance from the campaign on how to talk about Trump and the virus.

Details: Trump is "responsible for unimaginable pain and suffering — and we need to be clear and unshakeable in communicating this to the American people," the memo says.

  • It charges that Trump bought China's "spin" and "went AWOL" early in the crisis even as "other countries, like our ally South Korea, mobilized and ramped up testing.".
  • It urges a public emphasis on two areas of impact: the death toll ("Over 40,000 Americans have already lost their lives to COVID-19") and unemployment rates ("We are losing millions of jobs at an unprecedented speed in our history.")
  • It argues that Trump was slow to enact the Defense Production Act because he was "caving to lobbying from big corporations worried that it would hurt their profits."

Between the lines: Biden's campaign team believes the coronavirus highlights contrasts in leadership between Trump and Biden — and they hope it can help Biden at the ballot box.

  • Biden told donors during a virtual fundraiser last week: "Your friends and coworkers are dying, our family members and friends and neighbors are dying, while Trump is having a temper tantrum."
  • The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has signaled plans to paint Biden as "soft" on China.

Memo link here.

Go deeper

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

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The state of play: Being outside may limit the danger, but close quarters, yelling, and potential exposure to tear gas, which causes coughing and crying, increase the risk of spread. It's recommended that those who are protesting be tested for the coronavirus.

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Family-commissioned autopsy says George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

Why it matters: The autopsy contradicts preliminary findings from the Hennepin County medical examiner, who found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation,” according to charging documents against Chauvin. The official examination is still ongoing.