Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence bumped elbows with one another and respectfully exchanged pleasantries at a New York City event to commemorate the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The Hill reported. It was a rare example of civility in a campaign that has been one of the most contentious and vitriolic in American history.
Friday marks the 19th anniversary of the event that changed America forever. And at a remembrance ceremony, Biden and Pence both attended, along with their wives and other politicians and dignitaries.
Before the service, Biden, tapped Pence’s shoulder and said hello. The incident was captured by Bloomberg reporter Emma Kinery, who posted a video of it on Twitter.
Joe Biden and Mike Pence are both at Ground Zero. Biden tapped Pence’s shoulder and said hi pic.twitter.com/1vZScVHRks
— Emma Kinery (@EmmaKinery) September 11, 2020
Though they appeared to be speaking to each other for a few seconds, it remains unclear what was said between them.
The two men also eschewed the traditional handshake in favor of bumping elbows together, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both men, as well as all attendees, were wearing masks.
Ordinarily, two politicians from opposing political parties greeting each other and treating each other civilly would not be front-page news. However, by just about every measure, the political climate in the U.S. right now is toxic, and this campaign has been emblematic of that toxicity.
Pence, for example, has previously described Biden as a “Trojan horse” who will bring in a radical leftist agenda under the guise of being a Moderate. He’s also suggested that a Biden presidency would result in a breakdown in law and order.
Pence’s boss, Donald Trump, has referred to the former vice president as being “mentally shot” and calling him the worst Democratic candidate for president in years.
Biden, for his part, hasn’t had much to say about Mike Pence, beyond calling him a “decent guy” in 2019, and has saved most of his ire for Trump.
Following the ceremony, Pence went to another event elsewhere in the city, where he gave a speech and read from the Bible, after which some in the crowd applauded and shouted “four more years!”
Biden said that he planned to effectively take the day off from campaigning, according to CNBC News.
“Guys, I’m not gonna be making any news today. I’m not gonna talk about anything other than 9/11. We took all our advertising down. It’s a solemn day and that’s how we’re gonna keep it. OK? We’ll get back to the campaign tomorrow,” he told reporters.