Joe Biden appearance suggests return to campaign activities

World | 25 May 2020 11:53 pm

Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in more than two months on Monday as he marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans park near his Delaware home.

Since abruptly canceling a March 10 rally in Cleveland at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has waged much of his campaign from his home in Wilmington. When Biden emerged on Monday, he wore a face mask, in contrast to President Donald Trump, who has refused to cover his face in public as health officials suggest.

Biden and his wife, Jill, laid a wreath of white flowers tied with a white bow, and bowed their heads in silence at the park.

The appearance was a milestone in a presidential campaign that has largely been frozen by the coronavirus outbreak. While the feasibility of traditional events such as rallies and the presidential conventions are in doubt, Biden’s emergence suggests he won’t spend the nearly five months that remain until the election entirely at home.

The coronavirus has upended virtually all aspects of American life and changed the terms of the election. Trump’s argument that he deserves another term in office because of the strong economy has evaporated as unemployment rises to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

As a longtime senator and former vice president, Biden is trying to position himself as someone with the experience and empathy to lead the country out of a crisis.

Biden has adjusted to the coronavirus era by building a television studio in his home, which he’s used to make appearances on news programs, late-night shows and virtual campaign events. Some of those efforts have been marred by technical glitches and other awkward moments.

Some Democratic strategists have openly worried that Biden is ceding too much ground to Trump by staying home. The president himself has knocked Biden for essentially campaigning from his basement.

Biden’s advisers say they plan to return to normal campaign activities at some point, including travel to battleground states But they’re in no hurry, preferring to defer to the advice of health experts and authorities’ stay-at-home and social distancing recommendations.-AP

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