The former vice president, who is all but certain to be his party’s 2020 nominee for president, has spent the previous two months mostly in his home, due to social distancing measures put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. His appearances in the media have been limited to interviews via teleconferencing.
However, on Memorial Day, the presumptive presidential nominee stepped outside of his home for his first in-person public appearance in two months.
Accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden — and both wearing masks — the former vice president laid a wreath at a veterans’ memorial park near his Wilmington home. The couple then bowed their heads in silence, before Joe addressed reporters.
“Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget,” he said.
The couple had not announced their visit beforehand, so there were no crowds to greet him. Indeed, he only spoke directly to a couple of other people who happened to be in the park, both of whom were, like Biden, wearing a face mask.
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) May 25, 2020
Afterwards, the former senator briefly addressed reporters.
“I feel great to be out here,” he told them.
Though Biden’s visit to the Delaware memorial was low-key and unannounced, it also symbolically represents a turning point in his campaign, Associated Press writer Will Weissert suggested.
Specifically, Weissert posited that the appearance signals Biden won’t be spending the five months between now and the election cooped up at home.
For now, traditional campaigning — such as visiting large crowds at rallies, indoors or outdoors, or meeting with smaller crowds at diners or town halls — appears to be off the table, due to social-distancing. What’s more, the future of such traditional campaign appearances remains in doubt, due to the unclear picture of how the pandemic will play out.
Further, Biden, at 77, is among the age group that is most likely to develop complications from the coronavirus.
Regardless, he does not appear to be resigned to spending the remainder of the campaign season confined to his home.
Biden’s campaign has suggested he will return to the campaign trail at some unspecified point in the future and that those campaign activities will include visits to battleground states whose electoral votes he’ll need to defeat President Trump.