Joe Biden, the 77-year-old career politician who Democrats have picked as their 2020 presidential candidate, won’t be coming out of his basement anytime soon.
Biden on Tuesday said he won’t hold any presidential campaign rallies during the COVID-19 panic, even though President Trump has already returned to the campaign trail.
“This is the most unusual campaign I think in modern history,” said Barack Obama’s vice president as he answered questions from the media from his home in Delaware.
“I’m going to follow the doc’s orders — not just for me but for the country — and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies,” said Biden, who said he has not been tested for COVID-19.
Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he’d miss hobnobbing with people on the trail.
During such trips, Biden said “we keep social distancing. Everybody has masks on. Soon as I finish saying something, I put my mask back on… I have traveled, but when I do, I get in, make my case, and take questions and leave. But you know me: I’d much rather be out there with people because that’s where I get the greatest feel.”
Since March, when the coronavirus began sweeping across the U.S., Biden’s campaign has been conducted almost exclusively online, including holding interviews with the press, fundraisers and television appearances from a homemade studio in his Delaware home.
Biden said that so far, the process is working.
“They tell me 200 million people have watched what I have done from home and the half a dozen things we’ve gone out and done,” Biden said. “And so the irony is I think we’re probably communicating directly, in detail, with more people than we would have otherwise. But I’d much rather be doing it in-person.”
The Democratic candidate has made a few trips to some key states, including Texas and Pennsylvania, but the campaign events were small, with participants wearing masks and adhering to social distancing requirements.
Biden this week pushed back on the notion that he is losing his mental acuity, telling reporters he is “constantly testing” for cognitive decline.
“Some have speculated that you are subject to some degree of cognitive decline,” Fox News’ Doug McElway said. “I’m 65, I don’t have word recollection that I used to have, I forgot my train of thought from time to time. You got 12 years on me, sir. Have you been tested for some degree of cognitive decline?”
“I’ve been tested and I’m constantly tested,” Biden said. “Look, all you got to do is watch me and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”
A recent Zogby International poll of 1,007 “likely voters” found that 55% said they think the former vice president “is in the early stages of dementia.”