Biden and Trump speak by phone about coronavirus response

National & World

(CNN) — Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Monday about the response to the coronavirus pandemic, two sources familiar with the call and a White House official tell CNN.

The phone call is a rare moment of direct communication between the two political rivals. Trump has harshly criticized Biden for months, and his efforts to pressure Ukraine into opening an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, was the catalyst for launching impeachment proceedings against the President.

Biden has criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the administration was too slow to address the crisis. He has also said that Trump should stop talking and listen to experts.

“Vice President Biden and President Trump had a good call. 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,” Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

Trump said later that he had a “wonderful, warm conversation” with Biden.

“It was a very nice conversation,” Trump said. “He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that.”

Trump said the call lasted about 15 minutes. “It was really good, really nice. … I appreciate his calling,” Trump added.

Trump added that he and Biden “agreed” to not share the contents of their phone call.

“We agreed we weren’t gonna talk about what we said,” Trump told reporters when asked about the contents of the call.

Trump was then asked about the suggestions Biden made on the call.

“He had suggestions, doesn’t mean I agree with those suggestions,” Trump said before reiterating that the conversation was “very friendly.”

The phone call comes hours after Trump attacked Biden on Twitter, questioning the delay of the Democratic National Convention until August.

Trump added, “Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?”

The possibility of a phone call was first raised last week.

“Our teams will be in touch and we will arrange a call,” Bedingfield said in a statement last week, after Trump was asked about Biden’s offer to speak with him at his daily coronavirus press briefing.

“I would absolutely take his call,” Trump said. “I would love to speak with him, sure.”

This story has been updated with comments from Biden’s campaign and Trump.

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