President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden spoke over the phone Monday afternoon about the coronavirus crisis, Fox News has learned, in a rare conversation between the two likely nominees for president in November.
During the White House coronavirus task force press briefing in the evening, the president confirmed that he spoke to Biden over the phone earlier in the day. “We had a really wonderful, warm conversation, a very nice conversation,” Trump said.
A source familiar with the call said they spoke about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We talked about, pretty much…what everyone is talking about, this is what they want to talk about,” Trump said, referring to coronavirus. “He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that.”
Trump said the “friendly” conversation lasted about 15 minutes.
“It was really good, really good. Really nice,” he said.
But Trump wouldn’t divulge specifics, telling reporters that he and Biden “agreed we weren’t going to talk about what we said,” and maintained that it was a “very good talk.”
“I enjoyed it. I hope he enjoyed it too,” Trump said, adding that the former vice president “had suggestions” but “it doesn’t mean that I agree with those suggestions, but certainly he had suggestions. I also told him some of the things we’re doing.”
Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield also confirmed the call took place.
“Vice President Biden and President Trump had a good call,” Bedingfield said in a statement to Fox News. “VP Biden shared several suggestions for actions the administration can take now to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and expressed his appreciation for the spirit of the American people in meeting the challenges facing the nation.”
The call comes after Fox News first reported last week that Biden offered to have a phone call with Trump directly to discuss a strategy to combat the virus.
On Monday, the president teased the former vice president, tweeting: “What ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?”
Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a “Virtual” Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why? Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2020
Biden, on Monday, replied to the president’s tweet, appearing to keep the offer of a chat on the table.
“Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic,” Biden tweeted, before plugging his campaign page outlining his own response.
He added: “Happy to discuss anytime.”
Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic. I have laid out how you can do that: https://t.co/YLHCGEKnUB. Happy to discuss anytime. https://t.co/ePQuQKkeZV
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 6, 2020
Earlier Monday, a source familiar told Fox News that despite the president expressing interest in having a phone call with the Democratic frontrunner, the Biden campaign did not hear from the White House.
The source told Fox News that the Biden campaign reached out to the White House Monday to set up the call, which took place Monday afternoon.
Last week, when asked whether he would be receptive to a call with the likely Democratic presidential nominee, Trump said: “Oh sure, absolutely. I’d love to speak with him.”
“I always found him to be a nice guy. I don’t know him very well, frankly, but I think he’s probably a nice guy,” Trump said last week. “If he’d like to call, I’d absolutely take his call.”
Biden’s offer of a phone call came after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway challenged him to stop criticizing the Trump administration’s efforts and instead “call the White House today and offer some support.”
Author: Brooke Singman
Source: Fox News: Trump, Biden have a ‘really good’ phone call about coronavirus