COVID-19 is proving to be the defining crisis of recent memory. As markets collapse, the president spouts misinformation daily, and Congress debates economic relief packages, it seems like the perfect time for the presumptive Democratic nominee to step forward and offer a voice of leadership.
But Joe Biden is nowhere to be found. And people have noticed.
The former vice president hasn’t made a public appearance since Tuesday after he won primaries in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona. The excuse for Biden’s disappearance is that he and his campaign are trying to figure out live streaming from his home in Wilmington, Del. But the excuse doesn’t really seem to hold up.
I know other people have pointed this out, but it's just incredible. Bernie Sanders has been communicating regularly with the public. It's not that hard. Joe Biden is hiding, and his team isn't even good at making excuses about it pic.twitter.com/3nqHU0qnKy
— Meagan Day (@meaganmday) March 22, 2020
Senior Biden advisor Symone Sanders added some extra confusion to the mix Saturday night. At 10:30 p.m. ET, Sanders posted a screenshot of Biden “checking in” to DJ D-Nice’s popular Instagram live stream with a thumbs-up emoji. Onlookers immediately called out the post’s fishiness, which shows zero proof that Biden was actually on Instagram and clearly could’ve been orchestrated by Sanders herself.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 22, 2020
Many Twitter users have been openly wondering where Biden’s been since Tuesday. But Sanders’ post led them to joke about Biden’s conspicuous absence and facetiously wonder if the former vice president was still alive.
I hope everyone who said joe biden wasn’t being visible enough during this crisis takes a good look at themselves in the mirror tonight https://t.co/DyjSbmY5Lf
— america’s lounge singer (@KrangTNelson) March 22, 2020
Biden has been social distancing from politics.
— Ted Alexandro (@tedalexandro) March 22, 2020
In quarantine having the time of my life with Joe Biden. He’s just out of frame, being alive too. pic.twitter.com/waEt39abws
— Dan (@AntonioSlamsci) March 22, 2020
I’m old enough to remember when Joe Biden was alive
— Fred Delicious (@Fred_Delicious) March 22, 2020
Biden’s absence isn’t just notable, but troubling. As COVID-19 numbers explode in the U.S., Donald Trump is setting the rhetoric with his daily briefings during which he spreads misinformation about infection rates and openly attacks reporters. Open leadership from his presumptive opponent could go a long way to assuage fears and win favor. But nearly a week out of the public eye during an enormous crisis makes it easy to speculate if the Biden campaign is hiding something.
You can’t criticize Trump for lack of leadership and defend Biden’s absence during this crisis.
If something’s seriously wrong, that’s a different story. But if his campaign is doing this by choice — either to hide his mental decline or keep his polling lead — it’s a disgrace.
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) March 22, 2020
Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has continued with almost nightly live streams and COVID-19 relief efforts. Within a 48-hour period, the Sanders campaign raised more than $2 million for charities to aid COVID-19 responders. And on Sunday night, the Vermont senator was joined by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib for another coronavirus-related livestream that was viewed by nearly two million people.
Biden is slated to make his reappearance Monday. But his absence for nearly a week at the height of a global crisis speaks volumes. And Democratic voters have a right to know where he’s been.