UPDATE, 2:09 PM: “May God protect the First Family and every family that’s dealing with this virus,” a masked Joe Biden said in Michigan this afternoon. In remarks linked to fast moving events the former Vice-President also offered prayers that Donald Trump and Melania Trump “will make a quick and full recovery.”
The speech came just before the White House revealed that Trump is heading to Walter Reed hospital for further observation and treatment. That news came not only after Biden’s remarks concluded, but also after the already unsteady markets closed.
In his only official campaign event of the day, the Democrat went for a statesman tone less than 24 hours after the Trumps tested positive for COVID-19. Originally intended as a speech on the economy in the battleground state, the poll leading candidate pivoted to the immediate news of the pandemic on POTUS level. The sentiment of good wishes from Biden to the Trumps largely replicates the language used in the tweet the ex-Veep sent out this morning reacting to the news.
“This cannot be a partisan moment, it must be an American moment,” Biden said in remarks that have been part of his stump speech for months. However, other words that the ex-VP has used before took on new poignancy on Friday as the incumbent is in quarantine in the White House.
“Be patriotic it’s not about being a tough guy, it’s about doing your part,” a masked Biden declared in to the social distanced union audience in the Great Lakes State “Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you … Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for the people you love. The people you work with.”
Before heading to Michigan for his previously scheduled visit, Biden and the former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden both tested negative today for the coronavirus. There were concerns that the Bidens had been exposed to the disease after being in relatively close indoor proximity to Trump, the First Lady and his close aides, including the infected Hope Hicks, at the Presidential debate on September 29. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Trumps were not tested at the Cleveland venue like moderator Chris Wallace, technicians, the Bidens and their team.
In that vein, Biden hit hard his long-suggested policy that there needs to be greater testing access across the nation ASAP.
“It’s not just folks in the White House or who travel with me that deserve regular testing,” Biden noted in his address in Grand Rapids today, which was covered live on all the cable newsers and online. “It’s people in the meat processing and food packing plants, groceries store workers, every single American deserves safety and piece of mind.”
“This cannot be a partisan moment,” Biden told the small crowd and the millions of anxious Americans watching at home. “It must be an American moment.”
“We have to come together as a nation. I’m running as a Democrat, but I [will] govern as an American president. Whether you voted for me or against me, I will represent you.”
PREVIOUSLY, 12:33 PM: A coronavirus infected Donald Trump may be employing the ultimate Rose Garden strategy, but challenger Joe Biden is out on the campaign trail today after testing negative for the disease.
Having left his home in Delaware about an hour ago, the former Vice-President is currently in the air on his way to Michigan for an event at a Grand Rapids’ union hall. In addition to his scheduled speech on the economy, Biden was originally set to join a virtual fundraiser and a self-described “mobilization event” in the Great Lake State.
Just over an hour after it was announced that the poll leading ex-VP and Dr. Jill Biden do not have COVID-19, the campaign sent out an updated guidance this morning scaling down his schedule partially. Yet, Dr. Biden is traveling to Minnesota tomorrow for a trio of events in the Twin Cities. Biden’s running mate Sen. Kamala Harris has also tested negative for the coronavirus and is sticking to her agenda. California’s junior senator has a virtual fundraiser tonight with former President Barack Obama and Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan.
Tonight, @BarackObama, @KamalaHarris, and @MichaelB4Jordan are hosting a grassroots fundraiser to discuss what's at stake this November and the importance of making your voice heard at the ballot box.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 2, 2020
To put all this in electoral context, there is just over 30 days left before the election with Biden holding an approximately 6-point lead consistently.
After it was revealed that the former Celebrity Apprentice host and Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus last night, there were worries that the 77-year old Biden or the former Second Lady may have been exposed at the first Presidential debate on September 29 in Cleveland. As a petulant and raging Trump mocked Biden over advocating the wearing of masks, POTUS and almost all his team, including the also infected Hope Hicks, did not wear protective face wear in the venue.
Having sought to base his re-election campaign on Biden being incapacitated because of his age, the 74-year old Trump, who is reported to be experiencing “mild symptoms,” is now the one holed up at home for at least 14 days in quarantine. Trump was supposed to travel to Florida for one of his not socially distanced MAGA events later today – but that isn’t happening
“All previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed,” said Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien in a statement.
“In addition, previously announced events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily postponed,” he added in a telling indication of the status of other members of the Trump family, many of whom were in close proximity to Hicks and POTUS in the past few days obviously. All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead. Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events. Any further information about the President will come from the White House.”
What is of note here is that there is no mention on whether the second Presidential debate will go forward on October 15 or not. That date precisely coincides with the end of the Trumps’ quarantine.
Biden has made it clear he still is up for the debate as well as the third debate set for October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
On the flip side, the Biden campaign is said to livid that they had to learn from the media and not the administration or the re-election effort that Hicks had the coronavirus and traveled with Trump over several days this week. One of those trips included a GOP fundraiser in New Jersey yesterday that has seen the party scrambling to contact all those in attendance. Additionally, two White House assigned journalist and one staffer have also now received positive COVID-19 results today.
Sure to be a more frequent stand-in for Trump as he was today on a scheduled call about the virus, current Vice-President Pence has tested negative for the coronavirus earlier Friday. Still, with Pence having been up close with Trump, members of the First Family and Hicks in recent days, there are concerns that he should curtail his movements – at least for the next few days.
Even as they get out on the stump, the Biden team are sticking to their protocols and not throwing caution to the wind.
“First, rest assured that our campaign staff, in consultation with health experts, have continued to take every precaution to protect Vice President Biden, Sen. Harris, their spouses and our staff,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon told staff in an internal email Friday morning. “The health and safety of our team has been, and will remain, our number one priority,” the veteran political operative added.
“Second, as this situation continues to unfold, we ask that you refrain from posting about the situation on social media unless otherwise directed by your manager,” Dillion’s note continued in very 2020 terms. “We will share additional information and guidance with you as we have it.”
In a campaign that has fundamentally come to center on Trump himself and his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic, events now are 100% focused on the health issues in the White House. Or put another way, how does anyone campaign if the incumbent becomes sicker?
At the rate events are moving, Wwe will undoubtedly be updating this post throughout the day.
At present, there have been more than 7.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the USA and over 208,000 deaths.
More from Deadline
- Donald Trump To Be Taken To Walter Reed Hospital After Coronavirus Diagnosis
- Attention, Congress: The Movies Are Dying Again, For Real
- 'SNL' Kicks Off New Season With POTUS Debate AKA Alec Baldwin's Trump & Jim Carrey's Biden Go "Off The Rails:" WATCH
Best of Deadline
- U.S. Coronavirus Update: America Now Has Over 7 Million COVID-19 Cases As New Daily Infections Rise In 23 States
- Coronavirus: Movies That Have Halted Or Delayed Production Amid Outbreak
- Hong Kong Filmart Postponed Due To Coronavirus Fears; Event Moves Two Weeks Before Toronto