Joe Biden thinks that conducting “shadow” briefings on the coronavirus will help jumpstart his campaign that has fallen into oblivion thanks to the outbreak. His own briefings will follow those of the president, making many people wonder if his campaign is as completely demented as he is. The majority of Americans approve of the president’s handling of the ‘crisis,’ which makes Biden’s act look as pathetic as his mental acuity.
Imagine if a Republicans candidate had arranged to conduct ‘briefings’ after Obama. The outrage and claims of illegal behavior would flood the airwaves, many people argue. Of course, Biden’s not the nominee yet, but everyone is acting as if he is.
On Sunday evening, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee held a virtual fundraiser from his home in Wilmington, Del., and he told donors, “They put in a new high-speed line into my home, they’ve converted a recreation room, basically, into a television studio. So beginning tomorrow, I guess tomorrow, I’m making the first presentation.”
Biden is picking up the pace as he steps up his criticism of President Trump over what he charges was a lack of leadership from the Republican incumbent in the past two months as the coronavirus threat rose.
The former vice president also slammed the president and Senate Republican leaders over Sunday’s impasse on a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to help workers, small businesses and large companies devastated by the economic collapse caused by the pandemic — though Democratic leaders took heat from GOP colleagues for blocking that bill.
Biden’s move to essentially hold his own briefings amid the coronavirus pandemic is unusual, considering they are sure to offer a starkly different message than the daily briefings out of the White House during a time of national emergency. But they also come as the former vice president must keep a high profile, asserting himself as the presumptive nominee even as the numerous primary delays tied to the pandemic prevent him from officially locking down the nomination and beating lone remaining rival Bernie Sanders.
Biden had been on a roll – zooming past Sen. Sanders in late February and early this month to take a commanding lead in the race for convention delegates. But as he swept last Tuesday’s contests in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona – cementing his status as the likely nominee and all but closing the populist senator from Vermont’s extremely narrow path to win the nomination – the nation’s focus was squarely on the coronavirus as the death toll and number of Americans infected with the COVID-19 disease surged.
The former vice president was relegated to giving a low-quality webcast speech from his Wilmington, Del., home. Since then Biden’s mostly disappeared from the headlines while the president’s been a daily and controversial fixture at the White House briefings on the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak
“Joe Biden is reduced to being on the sideline,” veteran GOP consultant and Fox News contributor Karl Rove said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“This kind of sustained nationwide lockdown is unprecedented and shows the benefit of incumbency. The president can get media attention every day. Given his erratic performance, that’s not always a good thing, but it at least keeps him in the public eye through the media in a way that no one else can,” Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service and a Fox News contributor, noted.
But Biden used those appearances by Trump to take aim at the president on Friday during a conference call with political reporters.
“President Trump, stop saying false things, will you? People are worried. They are really frightened. And when these things don’t come true, you just exacerbate their concern. Stop saying false things [you] think make you sound like a hero,” Biden said.
In a statement on Sunday, Biden charging that “President Trump’s dithering on preparing us for this global pandemic and his lies about his response to this dangerous crisis is one of the most unjustifiable failures of presidential leadership in American history.”
[Biden has been busting lying too many times to count.]
And Biden’s campaign is going up with a new digital video on Facebook and Instagram in crucial general election battleground states that paints a stark contrast between the president’s combative tone with a reporter at a White House briefing last week and Biden’s answer to a similar question asked at a presidential primary debate eight days ago.
The video ends with the words on screen: “This moment calls for a president. In November, you can elect one.”
[Um… most people already agree that we have a president. One who has the mental stamina to get through daily, live Q&A sessions with a hostile press, not one who must have his talking points fed to him by prompters.]
Trump’s reelection campaign is firing back, accusing Biden of trying to politicize the crisis.
“By preying upon Americans’ fear amid the coronavirus outbreak, Biden isn’t just playing cheap politics. He’s making the crisis worse. It’s dangerous,” the campaign said in an email. “Biden’s Monday morning quarterbacking is an effort to sow anger and division among Americans.”
Update: Biden had a a teleprompter problem, which caused him to lose his train of thought in the 15-minute remarks.
Biden’s remarks, livestreamed from a studio set up in his home, began with his touching his face despite ongoing warnings not to do that during the coronavirus pandemic. His remarks were also short compared with the president’s near-daily coronavirus briefings, lasting less than 15 minutes in total, and featured a clear teleprompter issue that became a social media punchline.
The former vice president was detailing his plan to fight the coronavirus crisis, but appeared to lose track of his place on the teleprompter. Biden signaled to his staff that there was something wrong, before going off on an awkward ad-lib.
“And, in addition to that, in addition to that we have to make sure that we, we are in a position that we are, well met me go the second thing, I’ve spoken enough on that,” Biden said before going on to speak about the aggressive action he would like Trump to take under the Defense Production Act.
“Joe Biden when the teleprompter stops working is a train wreck,” social media strategist Caleb Hull wrote.
Biden — who had been oddly silent during the pandemic until Monday — covered a range of topics including what he would do if he were in the Oval Office and the lessons that can be learned from governors’ actions to fight the coronavirus – but some viewers harped on the blunders.
“What a disaster,” GOP spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington wrote. “Biden has had plenty of time to think about this, and he can’t even figure out what to say without help from a teleprompter.”