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Biden’s campaign will not hold campaign rallies during pandemic: ‘I’m going to follow the doc’s orders’

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US Democrat Joe Biden said Tuesday he will not hold presidential campaign rallies during the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented declaration that stands in stark contrast with Donald Trump who has already held large campaign gatherings.

Biden also ramped up his criticism of the president’s handling of the pandemic, saying Trump had “failed” the American people and “waved the white flag” of surrender in the fight against the coronavirus.

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“This is the most unusual campaign I think in modern history,” the former vice president said in Delaware at his first press conference since securing his party’s presidential nomination nearly four weeks ago.

“I’m going to follow the doc’s orders — not just for me but for the country — and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies,” said Biden, adding he has not yet been tested for COVID-19.

Biden, 77, was likely referring colloquially to government guidelines that urge Americans to not to attend large gatherings, rather than a personal physician’s advice.

He did not say whether his decision could change if conditions improve in the coming months.

If he avoid rallies altogether until election day on November 3, it would be an extraordinary move for a modern American presidential candidate, as campaigns are often gauged by the strength of their public messaging and enthusiasm.

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The announcement comes amid growing alarm about America’s inability to contain a crisis which has already killed more than 127,000 people nationwide.

Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned Congress Tuesday that daily infections could more than double to 100,000 without a sufficiently robust response.

– ‘Dereliction of duty’ –

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Biden in his speech attacked Trump on multiple fronts, including his professed ignorance of an alleged Russian program to pay the Taliban bounties for killing US troops in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported that the Russian threat was described in the president’s written intelligence daily brief in late February.

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“So the idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty,” Biden said. “And if he was briefed, and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty.”

Biden also accused Trump of peddling “propaganda” on the administration’s virus response instead of crafting a national battle plan.

“Donald Trump failed us. Month after month, as many of us urged him to step up and do his job, he failed us,” Biden said.

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Trump has repeatedly downplayed the COVID-19 threat, and defiantly held crowded indoor events this month in Oklahoma and Arizona where most supporters did not wear masks.

Trump has made clear he wants to return to campaigning, but on Tuesday his team said it had no new dates or locations to announce.

Biden said he would miss the personal connections that he makes out on the trail, something for which the veteran Democrat is well known.

The few events he has held have been small, with participants wearing masks and Biden’s physical interactions with voters kept to a minimum.

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“You know me: I’d much rather be out there with people because that’s where I get the greatest feel,” he said.

Instead, most of Biden’s campaign since March has been virtual, as he undergoes the challenging task of seeking to project engagement through remote interviews, online gatherings and television appearances from his Delaware home.

But he suggested that such a process has helped him connect with voters in an unprecedented way.

“They tell me 200 million people have watched what I have done from home and the half dozen things we’ve gone out and done,” Biden said.

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“And so the irony is I think we’re probably communicating directly, in detail, with more people than we would have otherwise.”

Biden is currently leading in polling nationally and in several swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that voted for Trump in 2016.

He said he was on track to announce his vice presidential pick in early August, a few weeks before the Democratic National Convention.

Biden will formally accept his party’s nomination at the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, although large parts of the event will be held online.


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2020 Election

Montana GOP ticket sidelined after exposure to COVID-positive Trump, Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle: report

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The Montana Republican Party is facing a crisis after multiple members of the ticket traveled to South Dakota for Donald Trump's rally and were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

"Montana gubernatorial candidate Rep. Greg Gianforte and his running mate, Kristen Juras, confirmed Saturday they will self-quarantine after Gianforte's wife, Susan, and Juras attended an event last week with Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has since tested positive for COVID-19," KBZK-TV reported Saturday.

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2020 Election

Trump’s presidency has accelerated the predicted collapse of the Republican Party: columnist

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Citing the work of a University of a Washington political scientist, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank said Donald Trump and his racist rhetoric has accelerated the decline of the Republican party in a country that is seeing major demographic changes and because white voters are increasingly turned off by it.

As Milbank wrote, four years ago Christopher Parker, who is Black, predicted a Trump candidacy would "do more to advance racial understanding than the election of Barack Obama.”

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2020 Election

Trump and his lackeys are too delusional to turn around their flailing campaign

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

When pundits point out that with four months to go until Election Day, it isn't too late for Trump to turn his campaign around, what they're really saying is that there's sufficient time left on the calendar for a candidate who grasped why he or she was losing to change course and abandon a clearly failing strategy.

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