During his White House press briefing Monday, Trump confirmed the two spoke and described the call as “a really wonderful, warm conversation.“
“We talked about, pretty much this, this is what we talked about. This is what everyone’s talking about. This is what they want to talk about. He gave me his point of view and I fully understand that and we just had a very friendly conversation. Lasted probably 15 minutes. And it was really good. It was really good, really nice, I think it was very much so. I appreciate his calling,” the president said.
Earlier in the day, Trump went on the offensive against the former vice president by accusing him via Twitter of having ulterior motives for suggesting Democrats might need to hold their presidential nominating convention online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?”
The former vice president quickly shot back on Twitter that “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 suggested on Sunday that his party needs to seriously consider hosting a virtual convention instead of its typical event, which has already been postponed from July until August.
“The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 people in one place and that’s very possible,” Biden, the Democratic primary frontrunner, told ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
Monday’s chat came together almost as lark after one of the president’s advisers, Kellyanne Conway, mocked Biden last week for not being constructive. That prompted the former vice president’s camp to respond that Biden had offered to share his expertise with the White House.
When asked Wednesday by reporters about the possibility of speaking to Biden, Trump said “Oh absolutely. I’d love to … I’d love to speak to him too. 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. No, if he’d like to call, I’d absolutely take his call. You can tell him.”
Later that day, in a call with reporters, Biden said he was open to a conversation. “I’m happy to hear he’ll take my call,” he said. “My team’s working with him to set such a call up.”
Like almost every other aspect of American life, this year’s presidential campaign largely has been put on hold in recent weeks amid the coronavirus’ spread across the U.S. Biden’s White House campaign has largely shifted online, where the former vice president has hosted town-hall meetings and news briefings from his Delaware home. Trump, too, has put off holding campaign rallies, as has Biden’s Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
But the former vice president, prone to gaffes on the stump, has also faced criticism that he has sought to avoid the campaign trail, attacks that Trump alluded to on Monday.
Sanders took swipes at a series of brief speeches Biden delivered at campaign events last month, while Trump’s campaign accused Biden’s team of being “desperate” to get the former vice president out of the view of voters and using the coronavirus as an “excuse” to do so.