Former Vice President Joe Biden has been practicing “social distancing” due to the coronavirus outbreak but his media campaign has been nothing short of awkward.
After virtually disappearing from the spotlight in the midst of the global pandemic, and following a delay in setting up his home for broadcasting, Biden made a round of media appearances that left many cringing.
One exchange between Biden and NBC’s Nicolle Wallace made for some uncomfortable television viewing.
“Why doesn’t he just act like a president?” the 2020 Democratic frontrunner said on “Deadline: White House” Tuesday while discussing President Trump and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
“That’s a stupid way to say it,” he added after a moment of silence. “Sorry.”
“Go ahead,” Wallace said from the MSNBC studio.
“No, no. Probably best I don’t,” Biden replied.
In another badly timed moment, Biden attempted to jab Trump but came off awkwardly again, leaving Wallace struggling to get back the segment’s rhythm.
The MSNBC host asked Biden about Trump calling the coronavirus “the Chinese virus” for “weeks and weeks and weeks.”
“I’m glad he finally got there. It was long overdue for him to say that he’s not going to put up with this xenophobia. It was strange coming from him but I’m happy he did it,” Biden responded, going on criticize the president’s dealing with China.
“Now all of a sudden he is being tough on China. He is making sure — now he is being soft on his xenophobia in the past so I just — I just can’t figure the guy,” he said.
“I don’t know. It’s like watching a yo-yo,” he added, before quickly apologizing. “I shouldn’t have said it that way.”
Wallace could only laugh, saying “it feels that way,” before trying to move on to another question.
The interview was replete with moments in which Biden struggled either to finish a thought or get his facts straight.
“And those poor people who have — lost — anyway — it’s just — my heart goes out to them,” he said of the coronavirus victims.
At one point, he told Wallace he wrote an op-ed for USA Today back in January after he had already told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he wrote the piece for U.S. News And World Report.
Also while speaking on CNN, Biden coughed repeatedly, presumably from a dry throat due to his many interviews. Tapper eventually schooled the former vice president on the proper way to cough, prompting Biden to explain that he was alone at home so it was okay.
CNN’s Jake Tapper just had to show Joe Biden how to properly cough during their interview. pic.twitter.com/SdA7Be69TW
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) March 24, 2020
“You know, you’re supposed to cough into your elbow,” Tapper said, while demonstrating with his elbow. “I learned that, actually, covering your White House.”
“Actually, that’s true,” Biden admitted. “But fortunately, I’m alone in my home, but that’s OK. I agree you’re right.”
“It’s kinda just old school to do it with your hand,” Tapper added. “Do it into your elbow. You’re supposed to do it.”
“Thank you,” Biden replied, smiling.
The 2020 contender had a similarly awkward interview with “The View” where he stumbled over remarks.
“Are you at all concerned, as Trump said, that we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself?” Sara Haines asked the former vice president on Tuesday’s show.
“We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse no matter what. No matter what,” Biden said in his confusing reply. “We know what has to be done.”
He also claimed that he had not criticized Trump in response to a question from co-host Sunny Hostin about Democrats politicizing the pandemic.
“I’ve not been criticizing the President but I’ve been pointing out where there’s disagreement as to how to proceed,” Biden said, before claiming that 3.5 million people had watched a disastrous presentation he made online the day before.
In fact, Biden launched a new campaign ad attacking Trump which featured – not himself – but Ron Klain, who was the former vice president’s chief of staff and the Obama administration’s Ebola Response Coordinator.
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