Joe Biden reappeared on the virtual campaign trail Friday, hosting a press call for select outlets so he could lash out at President Trump’s coronavirus response.
‘He’s all over the map!’ Biden complained about Trump, who spent about 95 minutes Friday morning in a free-wheeling briefing with the press. ‘The federal government needs to step up and lead. We need action, not words. We need science, not more fiction. Mr. President, start to tell the truth,’ the former vice president said, according to The Hill.
Biden’s reemergence came as the hashtag #WhereIsJoe was popping up on Twitter and supporters of his Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, questioned the ex-veep’s whereabouts.
Joe Biden livestreamed a speech from his home in Wilmington, Delaware Tuesday night to thank supporters for his wins in Florida and Illinois and to tell Bernie Sanders’ voters that he hears them. On Friday he held a call with press
Bernie Sanders’ supporters have pointed out that their candidate has been more-and-center this week in dealing with the coronavirus crisis – in part because of his day job as a U.S. senator
‘I hope it’s not too “divisive” for me to gently suggest that if you’re running for president right now, you should be front and center addressing this crisis. Sorta like Bernie,’ tweeted Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ national press secretary.
Glenn Greenwald, of The Intercept, which leans progressive like Sanders, also questioned why Biden – the likely Democratic nominee – wasn’t more front-and-center during the pandemic.
‘Joe Biden’s omnipresence, steely calm and inspiring leadership has shown the US what A Real President does in times of crises,’ Greenwald tweeted. ‘Oh wait – has anyone seen Joe?’
Shaun King, a Sanders surrogate, echoed Greenwald’s sentiment.
‘Where is @JoeBiden?’ King asked via tweet.
On the call, Biden said he would be doing more to get his face in front of the American people – holding coronavirus briefings with his team of experts as soon as Monday.
He suggested that he was facing some technological hurdles.
‘Everything from providng access to where I physically live and being able to broadcast from there, as well as our headquarters is underway,’ he told Yahoo News. ‘We’ve hired a professional team,’ the former vice president added.
Biden already had one virtual event go off the rails, when he tried to do a Q&A with voters from Illinois. During that livestream, the video, sound and timing of participants all got screwed up.
Biden’s had better luck in doing straight speeches.
He addressed supporters on Tuesday night, as he won another trio of states – further obstructing any chance Sanders had of winning the nomination.
And his campaign has sent out press releases critiquing the president’s response.
On the call Friday, he said Trump was ‘behind the curve’ in combatting the epidemic.
He also called him out for putting a nice polish on his administration’s handling of it thus far.
‘Stop saying false things, will ya?’ Biden implored of the president, according to ABC News. ‘Stop saying false things that make you sound like a hero.’
Sanders’ supporters have been pointing to the Vermont senator’s more frequent use of livestreaming technology and the fact that he was doing his job on Capitol Hill this week by voting on a House-approved stimulus package.
On Capitol Hill, he snapped at a reporter who asked him about the timeline on when he might exit the presidential race.
‘I’m dealing with a f***ing global crisis!’ the senator barked at CNN’s Manu Raju.
On Friday night Sanders planned to host a virtual roundtable on the ‘economic and health crises created by the coronavirus outbreak.’
He would be beaming into supporters’ homes from his Burlington, Vermont, campaign office, his campaign said.
And he would have a few musical guests too, including André Cymone and Nahko Bear of Nahko and Medicine for the People.