U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump said he had a “very friendly” conversation with Joe Biden on Monday after the Democratic presidential front-runner called to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Trump said their conversation lasted about 15 minutes.

“We had a really wonderful, warm conversation,” Trump said during his news briefing on the outbreak. “He gave me his point of view, and I fully understood that, and we just had a very friendly conversation.”

Biden, who is seeking his party’s nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election, “shared several suggestions for actions the Administration can take now to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said in a statement about the unusual direct talks between the White House rivals.

She added it was “a good call.”

Biden has been delivering near-daily criticism of the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis in interviews and campaign appearances.

The former vice president has said Trump should act with more urgency to marshal federal resources to help state governors respond to the highly contagious respiratory disease, including using presidential authority to boost domestic manufacturing of medical equipment in short supply.

The nationwide death toll from the virus reached 10,674 and the number of known U.S. infections surpassed 360,000 on Monday even as the governors of New York and New Jersey pointed to tentative signs that the coronavirus outbreak was starting to plateau.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney



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