‘I know a lot of us expect more from him in this moment…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Former Vice President Joe Biden is now the likely Democratic nominee, but he has all but disappeared from the public amid the coronavirus outbreak, and some Democratic strategists worry his low profile could hurt his chances in November.
Biden should be offering a counter-message to President Donald Trump, said one former Obama administration official.
Instead, the former vice president is allowing other Democratic politicians to do the talking (and the leading) for him.
“You’re constantly hearing about [Andrew] Cuomo, and I know he’s the governor of New York, but Joe Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee,” the former official told The Hill.
“He needs to show his leadership,” the source continued. “Here’s a guy who has deep relationships on the Hill, who understands how we govern, and he’s largely been on the sidelines. I know a lot of us expect more from him in this moment.”
Biden is quarantined within his house like most Americans, but perhaps Biden’s distant messaging is also an attempt to limit the gaffes he inevitably makes every time he speaks.
In one of his first television interviews since the beginning of the outbreak, Biden struggled to put together a coherent thought.
“We have to take care of the cure, that will make the problem worse no matter what. We know what has to be done,” Biden said in what appeared to be an attempt to reference President Trump’s vow to not allow the “cure” to become worse than “the problem.”
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
Some Democratic strategists, however, think Biden’s team is wary of appearing overtly political in the midst of a national crisis.
“This is bigger than Joe, and at a certain point there’s only so much good you can do with your words,” said Howard Gutman, a former Obama administration ambassador.
“You begin to look small if you’re just on the sidelines criticizing,” Gutman continued. “Every one of us supports the president right now, and politics is a luxury none of us can afford. There will be plenty of time for it. Voters will decide who leads the country in November. It’s not a time for rhetoric right now.”