Over the summer, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has been mostly run out of a makeshift studio in his Delaware home in what both critics and supporters have dubbed the “basement strategy” — ostensibly out of concern over the coronavirus, but likely also in an attempt to limit his infamous gaffes.
That’s about to change. Reports indicate that Biden will be leaving his home in Wilmington to campaign in-person in crucial swing states, a move that has Republicans poised to pounce on any potential mistakes, the Washington Examiner reported.
Biden’s exit from the basement could prove beneficial by countering the narrative that he has been hiding from the scrutiny of the media and voters, yet, given his history, his return to the public certainly comes with risks.
Leaving the basement
Biden’s campaign announced Thursday that he would begin to make campaign appearances in public again after Labor Day, The Hill reported.
Planned stops in swing states like Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are on the schedule, to be conducted under the constraints of stringent coronavirus mitigation and public health guidelines.
“Here’s the deal. We plan on, without jeopardizing or violating state rules about how many people can in fact assemble,” Biden reportedly told donors in a virtual fundraiser. “So what we’re working on is how I get out. I’m going to be traveling throughout the country where I can do it consistent with the state rules about how many people can be assembled.”
Biden took a veiled shot at his opponent, vowing not to hold any “irresponsible rallies” and said he will focus on meeting with small groups of people, like local business and community leaders.
Trump and friends ready to pounce
To say the Trump campaign and allied PACs are figuratively salivating over the opportunity to seize on any potential mistakes by Biden would be an understatement, as was made clear in statements provided to the Examiner.
“Joe Biden thought he could insult the intelligence of the American people by hiding in his basement and letting the mainstream media do his campaigning for him. He was wrong,” Samantha Zager, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, said in a statement.
“Now that he’s scrambling to hit the campaign trail after seeing the organic enthusiasm for President Trump and the effective stories from real Americans at the RNC, it’s clear he was using COVID as an excuse to avoid answering for his abysmal record,” she added. “We’re excited for Americans to see the real Joe Biden because once they do, they’ll reject him in favor of four more years of President Trump.”
Likewise, the Trump-allied America First Action super PAC’s communications director, Kelly Sadler, noted that Biden’s return to the campaign trail will almost certainly provide new footage for attack ads, footage that has been in short supply since Biden went into hiding.
“So, this is all good news for us,” Sadler said. “When he was out on the campaign trail in the primary, he provided all the ammo that we needed.”