Former Vice President Joe Biden, who promised to keep the Trump Administration accountable on its response to the coronavirus pandemic in daily “shadow briefings,” has cancelled his live-streamed address for Wednesday after a series of media mishaps.
Yahoo News’ Hunter Walker announced on social media Wednesday that Biden had decided against an address because he’d already commanded enough airtime on CNN and ABC’s The View.
“Joe Biden cancelled his online press briefing that was scheduled today after making appearances on CNN and The View. His campaign says he will do the briefing again tomorrow,” Baker wrote.
The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has largely disappeared from the headlines, and most upcoming primaries have either been cancelled or delayed, as Americans shelter in place amid a coronavirus pandemic. Fearing that he has no role in the national coronavirus response, unlike his rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Biden launched his “shadow briefings” in the hopes that he could overtake President Donald Trump’s daily press conferences — or at least present an opportunity to refute the president’s statements on the virus.
As Politico noted, however, in Biden’s first address the former Veep “was staid and somber, even as his remarks were marred by a few minor real-time snafus and slip-ups.”
“It wasn’t riveting TV,” the outlet noted. “And the speech barely made a blip.”
The subsequent media blitz was worse.
In an appearance on MSNBC, the former Vice President appeared to lose track of his whereabouts and suddenly began talking to himself, despite prompts from host Nicole Wallace. At one point, Biden called his remarks “a stupid way to say it,” causing an awkward silence between himself and Wallace, which ended only when Wallace suggested he repeat his analysis of the president’s leadership.
“No, no, probably best I don’t,” Biden replied.
Biden has had plenty of time in his basement to think about what he wants to say
And yet… pic.twitter.com/BNlKf2w9QQ
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 24, 2020
At least in his MSNBC appearance, Biden still managed to criticize the president in a way that was understandable. He was downright inscrutable in a later appearance on ABC’s The View.
“We have to take care of the cure — that will make the problem worse no matter what, no matter what,” the former Vice President said, to much confusion.
Social media tried to decode Biden’s message, but to no avail.
Joe Biden: "We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse no matter what — no matter what."
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 24, 2020
In an appearance on CNN, Biden had to be taught how to cough into his elbow, and not his hand, by host Jake Tapper, who was clearly unnerved by Biden’s lack of hygiene.
“You know, you’re supposed to cough into your elbow,” Tapper suggested, pointing out that the method of preventing virus transmission gained popularity under the Obama Administration.
“I don’t know, sir. I learned that, actually, covering your White House,” Tapper said.
“No, actually that’s true,” Biden said, “but fortunately I’m alone in my home, but that’s okay.”
Tapper then went on to demonstrate how to sneeze appropriately, bringing his elbow to his mouth.
Biden has to hope, now, that President Donald Trump isn’t making inroads among Americans who might have questioned his leadership before this time of crisis. According to polls, though, that may be a long shot hope. Wednesday morning, Trump clocked the highest approval ratings of his presidency across several leading polls.