When President Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital following his COVID-19 diagnosis, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign announced that all negative campaign ads had been displayed.
Biden had previously said he and his wife would “continue to pray for the health and safety of the President and First Lady”; Later in the day, the campaign announced that both Bidens had tested negative for the virus.
Biden fought mostly in his basement in Delaware until recently. He rarely took questions from reporters and usually wears a mask – something the President ridiculed him about during Tuesday’s debate. Now it’s Trump stuck in the bunker for at least two weeks, while Biden has run more public campaign events this week, including a whistle-stop tour of several battlefield states. His campaign has also given volunteers permission to knock on doors in key states, something they had previously refrained from for fear of viruses.
The President and his campaign staff found out on Friday morning how the campaign will continue from here. Trump had planned rallies for Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona among other battlefield states over the next few days. The big mega rallies, as one election worker calls them, are the president’s political lifeblood. He loves to do them and the crowd loves to see him. “But they’ve been off the table now for at least a fortnight, Trump’s quarantine period, and possibly longer if his now“ mild ”symptoms worsen. Late Friday afternoon, Trump was moved to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center as a“ precaution ”.
In the early afternoon, campaign manager Bill Stepien issued a statement saying that all campaign events the president was involved in had been postponed or temporarily postponed to virtual events. “Trump’s participation in the second debate on October 15 was now questionable. This also depends on whether his illness worsens over the next two weeks. Glum staff at the campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia are now focused on finding out how the president can climb out of a hole that just got deeper.
The Trump campaign has helped cast Biden as a candidate for “lockdowns” and promoted Trump as an advocate for economic reopening. He has repeatedly cited the widespread collateral damage to health from lockdowns – particularly depression and an increased number of suicides – as well as the economic costs as reasons for avoiding this. And, in keeping with its reopening theme, the campaign resumed large outdoor rallies and did not require attendees to wear masks or social distancing while doing so.
The contrast, the campaign admits, couldn’t be more frustrating. But the challenge, says a consultant who was not authorized to speak on the file, is “making lemonade out of lemons.” Trump advisors are now speaking to the Presidential Debate Commission about the virtual implementation of the second debate on October 15. Their assumption is that Biden would agree. Trump may downsize “the heat” a bit in the second debate – as recommended by debate coach and Biden deputy Chris Christie – but find a way in town hall format to “absolutely pound Biden,” as one campaign adviser puts it, because he himself refused to say if he would like a Democratic Senate to add judges to the Supreme Court. Polls show that a large majority of American voters are against the idea.
If Trump easily recovers from the virus, the campaign will likely resume outdoor rallies in the last few weeks of the campaign and try again to meet Biden at suspensions. The battle now is to find news that recognizes the severity of the virus as the president’s recovery shows that for most of the people suffering from the disease, life goes on. It will herald the ongoing economic recovery – around 660,000 jobs were created last month, fewer than expected, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent – as evidence that reopening further is the only way to go.
Some campaign workers acknowledge that the president may have little to say about the virus right now that will convince the majority of voters that he has handled it competently. His quarantine – or hospitalization – for at least half of the last month of the campaign could be the final act. A Trump campaign volunteer in Pennsylvania, David Slater, says that in his “bleakest moments now,” he sees the Biden administration happily cranking up the distribution of the vaccines, which are now being publicly destroyed, in the first quarter of next year: Vaccines that bring the COVID era to an end. Vaccines paved the way for the Trump administration through Operation Warp Speed. “