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Biden says he won’t hold campaign rallies during pandemic: ‘I’m gonna follow the doc’s orders’

Former vice president spoke just as Donald Trump prepares for 4 July event in South Dakota

Andrew Naughtie
Wednesday 01 July 2020 09:11 BST
Joe Biden says he won't hold rallies during outbreak surge

As the US faces a new surge in coronavirus cases, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has said he will hold back on traditional presidential rallies until large gatherings no longer pose a risk.

When one reporter asked if he planned to hold any rallies between now and November, the candidate made it clear that epidemiological concerns came first.

“This is the most unusual campaign, I think, in modern history,” said Mr Biden “Well, I start off with a premise, Mike, that I’m gonna 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.

“I am not going to be – for example, you all are here, but thankfully the school has put those circles around so we keep to social distancing, everybody has masks on, as soon as I finish this I’ll put my mask on. So it’s almost all been virtual, although I have gone into Houston, I have gone into Pennsylvania – I’ve had travel, but when I do, I get in, make my case, then leave.”

Mr Biden was taking questions from reporters gathered at a press conference in a school gym, with circles drawn on the floor to ensure the masked-up press pack kept safely apart from each other.

“But you know me,” he continued, “I’d much rather be out there with people because that’s where I get the greatest feel. I can get a sense by the look in their eyes, by the plane of voices, what they’re concerned about.

“But notwithstanding that, I’ve been surprised – the irony is that we’ve probably reached more people directly.”

Mr Biden’s announcement comes as Donald Trump prepares for a 4 July firework display at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, which is expected to draw a crowd of as many as 7,500 people. Governor Kristi Noem told Fox News this week that attendees will not be required to practice social distancing or wear masks.

When questioned about his seemingly solid lead over Mr Trump in many polls – including in numerous swing states – Mr Biden was careful not to get carried away.

“I don’t wanna jinx myself. I know the polling data is really good, but I think it’s really early, it’s much too early to make any judgement. I think we’ve got a whole lot of work to do. I plan on laying out in detail my economic plan as to how we recover from this, my plan on dealing with foreign policy – working out in detail what I’m gonna do if I am elected president so that people know what’s coming.”

And asked if he has started preparing for debates with Mr Trump, Mr Biden simply said with a grin: “I can hardly wait.”

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